The Leafs will be looking to make it two wins in a row when the Flyers come into town after a big 3-2 victory of the Red Wings on Tuesday. Another must-win for the Leafs, they will have to get a good start against an intimidating Flyers lineup (outside of those who protect the crease).
On the other side, the Flyers sit two points back of the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings. While the race in the East is tight, the Flyers and Leafs are holding on hope to sneak into the second wildcard spot – occupied by the New York Islanders.
The Leafs will also look to prove Valtteri Filppula wrong after the former Lightning forward blocked a trade to the Maple Leafs leading up to the trade deadline thanks to his no-trade clause. But as The Athletic’s James Mirtle reports, it wasn’t anything against the Leafs.
Filppula: "Nothing against Toronto. Obviously they have a great team and coach."
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) March 9, 2017
Regardless, both teams will use their skill and physical play to gain the advantage in an important game. It won’t be easy as both clubs are quite talented on paper. Then again, it comes down to what they can do on the ice when the puck drops.
Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Air Canada Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – NHLN-US, TVAS, SNO and CSN-PH
2016-17 Season Series:
November 11 – Maple Leafs 6 – Flyers 3
January 26 – Flyers 2 – Maple Leafs 1
Philadelphia Flyers – 31-26-8 – 70 Points
Road Record: 12-16-4
Hot Players: Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux
Key Injuries: Michael Raffl
Jordan Weal-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds
Brayden Schenn-Valtteri Filppula-Jakub Voracek
Nick Cousins-Sean Couturier-Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Travis Konecny
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning-Shayne Gostisbehere
Michael Del Zotto-Radko Gudas
Toronto Maple Leafs – 29-22-14 – 72 Points
Home Record: 16-10-6
Hot Players: Tyler Bozak, William Nylander and Mitch Marner
Key Injuries: Tyler Bozak, Connor Carrick and Joffrey Lupul
James van Riemsdyk-Nazem Kadri-Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-William Nylander
Leo Komarov-Brian Boyle-Connor Brown
Matt Martin-Eric Fehr-Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly-Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner-Alexey Marchenko
Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Eric Fehr will make his Maple Leafs debut against a team that he is quite familiar with – having played with the Penguins for the majority of two seasons. In fact, he’s played against the Flyers 30 times over his career notching five goals and 14 points to go along with a minus-one rating. He had six goals and 11 points with the Pens through 52 games this season prior to his trade to Toronto.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Former Flyer – James van Riemsdyk – will take on his former club for just the 12th time in his NHL career. Through his first 11 games, he has four goals and six points. He will also be looking to hit the 50-point plateau for just the third time in his career – sitting at 49 through 65 games this season.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]After putting the kibosh on a possible trade to Toronto, Filppula with take on the Maple Leafs as a member of the Flyers. He hasn’t had the most success against the Maple Leafs over his career. In 19 games, he has just one goal and four points. It’s probably a good thing he didn’t join them after all.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Flyers have owned the all-time series with the Maple Leafs. In 176 regular season games, they hold a 94-56-22-4 record outscoring the Leafs 608 to 484 over that span.
Obviously any time you can pick up two points it’s important for your club. But this particular game could make or break the playoff hopes of both the Leafs and the Flyers. Look for one of these clubs to score early and both teams to come out playing with an edge right from puck drop.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.