The Philadelphia Flyers were technically the home team.
Looking around Budweiser Gardens, you wouldn’t know it.
A near sold-out crowd primarily bore the blue and white, with only rare hints of orange. The roars were near deafening at times, putting regular crowds at the Air Canada Centre to shame.
The game itself was quite intriguing. After a scoreless first, the Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second thanks to goals from Michael Raffl and Matt Read. However, with just 15 seconds left in the period, Nazem Kadri jammed home a power play goal to cut the lead in half. Early in the third, Kadri found Tom Nilsson for a one-timer to tie the game.
After a tense third period and overtime session, the game needed a shootout. After the first five shooters missed, David Booth ripped a shot past former Knight Anthony Stolarz for the winner. Booth says he was given some inside information on how to beat the Flyers netminder.
“I was going to do the spin-a-rama but someone told me not to. I actually had a good lead, someone told me what to do there, I listened to him, and it paid off.”
For Kadri, he knows he had added expectations playing in his hometown.
“I’m from here, I’ve got lots of friends and family that come out and watch, so I don’t want to disappoint.”
Disappoint he did not. A goal and an assist for Kadri is quite good, but he wasn’t too satisfied with his shootout attempt.
“I think I could have done better, I didn’t really like it too much,” he said with a strong note of exasperation in his tone. “I just didn’t sell the fake enough, and I should have got it up. I think if I had gotten it up over that pad it would have had a chance to go in.”
Regardless, the Maple Leafs sent their fans home happy, but they won’t have much time to savour the win: the same two teams play again tonight at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.