Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 51st goal, Morgan Rielly had a goal and two assists, and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs won their fourth straight with a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
John Tavares, Wayne Simmonds, Timothy Liljegren and Pierre Engvall also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have netted 24 goals during their streak.
Ivan Provorov had two goals and an assist and Kevin Hayes also scored for the Flyers, who have lost five of six. Philadelphia entered tied for last with New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division.
Matthews put Toronto ahead 3-2 with 12:19 remaining to pull within four goals of passing Rick Vaive for the club’s all-time single-season goals record. Vaive netted 54 in the 1981-82 season.
Mitchell Marner got Flyers goalie Carter Hart to commit to playing the shot, and then quickly skated around the net and passed in front to Matthews, who fired into the vacated net. He has a two-goal league lead over Edmonton Oiler Leon Draisaitl, whose team didn’t play Saturday.
WATCH l Marner sets up Matthews’ 51st goal in Leafs’ win over Flyers:
Matthews’ tally began a frenetic stretch of five goals in the span of about eight minutes. Engvall’s short-handed goal gave the Leafs a two-goal lead with 8:17 remaining before Provorov’s second of the night on a long slap shot pulled the Flyers within 4-3 with 7:37 left. Rielly all but iced the game with a goal from a sharp angle with 6:13 to play.
The Maple Leafs opened a four-game trip by improving to 19-12-3 away from Toronto.
Yandle, 35, started his streak on March 26, 2009, with Phoenix. He passed retired centre Doug Jarvis for the mark of 965 games on Jan. 25 against the Islanders. Yandle was a healthy scratch.
Rookie defenseman Ronnie Attard made his NHL debut for Philadelphia.
Yandle has only one goal and 15 assists in 67 games.
“It’s kind of been one of those things toward the end of the year when you’re signing young guys and getting free agents out of college, they’re going to give them a chance to play,” Yandle said before the game. “It’s tough to have a bad day in the NHL. But getting the news you’re not playing is not what you want to hear.”
Arizona Coyotes forward Phil Kessel now has the longest active streak at 968 consecutive games.
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