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Glen Stricker The Hockey Writers

Published on Thursday, January 26, 2017





Preview: Maple Leafs Visit the Flyers

In the last and final game, before the NHL All-Star break begins, the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Philadelphia Flyers in a matchup of two teams in the hunt for the second, and final, wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams come into tonight’s game playing in their second game of back-to-back sets, so there are no excuses for either squad. The Maple Leafs have been rolling of late, as a young, hungry and talented team, they are beginning to find the chemistry needed that separates the good teams from the bad.

Auston Matthews, NHL, Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Maple Leafs have won their last two in front of back to back shutouts by goaltender Fredrick Anderson and have collected points in eight of their last 10 games overall (6-2-2). The Leafs sport an impressive road record overall this season at 11-6-6 and are 9-0-2 in their last 11 on the road, so the Flyers will certainly have their work cut out for them tonight at home.

The Flyers are coming off back-to-back wins of their own, having won Sunday night in overtime against the New York Islanders and last night in a 2-0 shutout against the mighty New York Rangers. The Flyers have been floundering since their 10 game winning streak in mid-December and will look to take a much needed three-game winning streak into the break tonight with a win against the Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Wells Fargo Center – 7:00 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – CSN Philadelphia, SNO; 97.5 The Fanatic

2016-17 Season Series: Maple Leafs 1-0

Toronto Maple Leafs: 23-14-9 –  Points

Road Record: 11-6-6

Hot Players: Fredrick Anderson, Mitch Marner

Scratches: Josh Leivo (healthy), Frank Corrado (healthy), Morgan Rielly (lower body), Ben Smith (IR, hand)

Projected lines:


James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner

Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – William Nylander

Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Connor Brown

Matt Martin – Frederik Gauthier – Nikita Soshnikov


Martin Marincin –  Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak

Starting Goaltender:

Curtis McElhinney

Philadelphia Flyers: 24-19-6 – 54 Points

Home Record: 12-5-3

Hot Players: Steve Mason, Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds

Scratches: Nick Schultz (healthy), Michael Del Zotto (day-to-day, lower body), Dale Weise (healthy)

Projected lines:


Michael Raffl – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek

Travis Konecny – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds

Nick Cousins – Sean Couturier – Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde – P-E Bellemare – Roman Lyubimov


Ivan Provorov – Andrew MacDonald

Mark Streit – Radko Gudas

Brandon Manning – Shayne Gostisbehere

Starting Goaltender:

Steve Mason

Game Notes

1) The Maple Leafs have been scorching hot with their talented youngsters of late. Mitch Marner has 13 points in his last 11, former Flyer James Van Riemsdyk has 15 points in his last 12 and superstar rookie Auston Matthews has 16 points in his previous 16 games. The crop of talent the Leafs have accumulated after being bad for the last handful of years are beginning to come to fruition.

2) Flyers forward Brayden Schenn has quietly started to turn his season around of late, with 12 points in his last 13 games after starting the season off slow with a three-game suspension. He also leads the entire NHL in power play goals with 11.

3) Curtis McElhinney will start in goal tonight for the Leafs despite Anderson’s hot play of late. It will be only his second start with the club since being claimed off waivers Jan. 10. In his first start with the Leafs, he made an impressive 35-save effort in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 14.

4) As of now it seems as though the Flyers are leaning towards starting Mason tonight for the second night in a row. Last night’s shutout against the Rangers was Mason’s first since March of 2016. Last night’s win gave the Flyers their first consecutive wins since the 10 game winning streak ended Dec. 17.


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