Toronto drops Philly; worst start in Flyers history

TORONTO (AP) -- The Philadelphia Flyers had trouble scoring again despite putting more than 40 shots on goal.

Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Tomas Kaberle scored in the third period to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-1 victory over the sagging Flyers on Monday night.

Andrew Raycroft made 40 saves and Bates Battaglia also had a goal for the Maple Leafs, who have won five of six -- including a 4-1 win Saturday at Buffalo. That was the Sabres' first loss in regulation this season.

Normally used as an enforcer, Ben Eager scored for the Flyers, who dropped to 3-10-1 -- the worst start in the club's 40-year history and the poorest record in the NHL. Philadelphia has lost four of six since coach Ken Hitchcock was fired and Bobby Clarke resigned as general manager on Oct. 22.

"Nothing against Ben Eager, but when he's your only goal scorer it's a concern," interim coach John Stevens said.

The Flyers have scored a league-low 29 goals. They've allowed 57.

"That's the way it's been the last five or six games. We played great, but we can't score goals," backup goalie Antero Niittymaki said. "The other team gets one or two chances and they score every time."

The Flyers outshot Toronto 41-32 but went 0-for-7 on the power play.

"It's tough. We played very well in the second and third. We had a lot of chances, but for whatever reason were not finishing," Philadelphia forward Simon Gagne said.

Flyers captain Peter Forsberg missed on all four of his shots, including one right in front of the net.

"It's tough on everybody, not just me," Forsberg said. "We haven't won too many games lately. I think everybody feels bad. I'm not going to go down here. I'm just going to try to work harder."

Toronto had many chances in the first period. The Maple Leafs outshot Philadelphia 15-7 and had four power plays, but scored just once.

Battaglia gave Toronto an early lead after skating from behind the net, turning and putting a wrist shot past Niittymaki at 5:25.

Toronto's Jeff O'Neill had a couple of chances, but failed to elevate the puck on one play in the first and passed up a close shot in the second.

Philadelphia took the play to Toronto in the second, outshooting the Leafs 17-3.

Eager tied the score at 1 at 2:32 after Toronto's defense failed to get back. Eager skated in on a partial breakaway and put a wrist shot past Raycroft.

Ponikarovsky and Tucker hit the post with shots in the third.

But Antropov scored his first goal of the season by putting a rebound past Niittymaki on the power play at 7:18 of the third.

Antropov missed a couple of changes early, but didn't get down on himself.

"When I'm not scoring I always get down on myself, but today I didn't, and at the end of the day I scored," said Antropov, who played on the top line with captain Mats Sundin.

Ponikarovsky gave Toronto a 3-1 lead with an unassisted goal at 16:06 and Kaberle added an empty-netter at 18:47.

Game notes
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attended the game and is in Toronto for the general managers' meeting on Tuesday. Bettman said between periods that overall NHL attendance in October is down from last year, but that it's still the second-highest attendance figure the league has ever had. Bettman also said the league will consider changing its schedule. West Coast teams complain their fans aren't getting a chance to see stars such as reigning Rookie of the Year Alexander Ovechkin of Washington. ... Philadelphia starting goalie Robert Esche is 1-3 with a 5.32 goals-against average this season.