Joseph Shuts Down Flyers in Toronto's 2-1 Win
By Ken Berger
PHILADELPHIA This was exactly why the Maple Leafs signed Curtis Joseph.
Joseph made 40 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Flyers 2-1 Monday night, taking command in their first-round playoff series. The Maple Leafs took a 2-1 lead in the series despite getting outshot 41-21.
Joseph outplayed Flyers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, who had held the Leafs scoreless in the first 118 minutes of the series. But Toronto might have turned the momentum of the series with two goals in the final two minutes of Game 2. It carried over to the pivotal third game.
The Flyers, playing without injured superstar Eric Lindros, are 5-11 in seven-game series in which they trail 2-1. Philadelphia has lost five of its last six home playoff games.
Steve Thomas, maligned in Philadelphia for a hard check on Eric Desjardins in the second game, scored the game-winner on a power play 40 seconds into the second period. It snapped an 0-for-15 power-play drought in the series, and 0-for-33 including the end of the regular season.
Mike Johnson also scored for the Leafs, and Karl Dykhuis scored the Flyers' only goal a shot that Joseph didn't see because he was screened.
Philadelphia was 0-for-5 on power plays, including a 6-on-4 advantage in the final 65 seconds when it pulled Vanbiesbrouck.
Joseph, nicknamed ``Cujo,'' was magnificent. He made 11 saves in the third, stopping John LeClair from the side of the net for save No. 33.
His 35th save was spectacular, too. Joseph tipped Keith Jones' close-in backhander with his skate, then stopped a shot from the point and a rebound for saves No. 38 and 39. He finished the job with 4 1/2 minutes left, absorbing a shot by Rod Brind'Amour with his chest and pouncing on the rebound.
The Flyers had been miffed by hard checks by Kris King and Thomas in Game 2, but the chippy play that some expected didn't really develop.
Dykhuis, whose first playoff goal gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first, proved that the best way to beat Joseph is with shots he can't see.
Working the left point, Dykhuis waited for LeClair's screen to develop and fired a shot that whizzed between LeClair and Mikael Renberg. It went over Joseph's right shoulder with 3:44 left in the period. Joseph, signed as a free agent last summer, was looking to his left and didn't see the puck until it was in the net.
But the emotional lift was short-lived for the Flyers, who were stunned by Johnson's goal 10 seconds later. Chris McAllister bounced the puck off the boards after the faceoff at center ice, and Steve Sullivan pushed it ahead to Johnson. His weak backhander surprised Vanbiesbrouck, who had his stick in the air and his feet nearly crossed as the puck deflected in off his skate.
Craig Berube, the Flyers' resident goon, committed a senseless penalty with 13 seconds left in the first, skating into Thomas and knocking him down during a stoppage in play. It came back to haunt the Flyers when Thomas scored his second playoff goal.
Vanbiesbrouck, who showed early signs of shakiness, barely moved as Thomas' shot sailed past him on the stick side.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press