PHILADELPHIA -- The Maple Leafs had little trouble taking advantage of a shell-shocked opponent last night.
The Philadelphia Flyers learned minutes before the game that their captain, Peter Forsberg, had been traded to the Nashville Predators and then put up no fight until the game was out of reach, falling 4-2 to the Leafs before a half-empty Wachovia Center.
The Leafs scored three goals in the first period and captain Mats Sundin added another in the third, and improved to 17-10-3 on the road this season.
It was a crucial win for Toronto, which entered the game with 62 points, two behind the eighth-place club in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens have played one more game than the Leafs and have one more victory. The New York Islanders also have 64 points after beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 last night.
The Leafs, many of whom had their fathers in attendance, have won four in a row in Philadelphia with another game here in eight days. Their most recent regular-season loss was in January, 2004.
Jeff O'Neill, Nik Antropov and Carlo Colaiacovo also scored for the Leafs.
Andrew Raycroft made 34 saves in his 19th consecutive start, tying the longest run for a Leafs goalie since 1990, a mark set by Felix Potvin.
Raycroft is expected to make it 20 in a row tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre when the Leafs play host to the Edmonton Oilers.
Raycroft, as he has been for a few weeks, was sharp when he had to be. He made a great save on Sami Kapanen in the first period when the game's outcome was in doubt.
Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble scored for the Flyers, who own league-lows with five home wins and 38 points. It showed in the first period, when they were disorganized and the Leafs ran roughshod.