Monday’s game between the Flyers and the Maple Leafs matches up two Eastern Conference foes looking to make their way up the rankings with a quarter of the lockout-shortened season’s
games now behind them.
Philadelphia (5-6-1) comes into the Air Canada Centre after a big, 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday, with Danny Briere scoring the game-winning goal, his second goal
overall this year. The Flyers finished their four-game home-stand having gone 3-1, placing them just behind Carolina, who is in 8th place, in the Eastern Conference standings.
This is the first of three games to be played between the two teams this season. The Flyers, while disappointing so far due to lack of production from their top lines, remain in the thick of the Atlantic Division race.
Toronto (7-5-0) enters Monday’s contest having won three in a row, with the last
victory being a sound, 6-0 dismantling of the rival Montreal Canadians. LW James Van Riemsdyk, sent to Toronto this past summer by the Flyers for defenseman Luke Schenn, had two points for the Leafs, second in the Northeast Division to the Boston Bruins (7-1-1)
playing at home against the Flyers, who are just 1-5-0 on the road, would seem ideal for Toronto, who look to build on the momentum from their three-game win streak. Toronto, however, is 1-4-0 at home, so there is no clear advantage for either team.
The Flyers, who scored four goals against Carolina, will need to improve on the power play
if they want to have a chance against the talented Maple Leafs, who are fifth in the Eastern Conference in goals. The Flyers failed to score on any of their three power play opportunities Saturday, including one that came on a 5-3 advantage.
One player that has been a big part of Toronto’s success this season is Van Riemsdyk. He
leads his team with seven goals, with an additional two assists, for the Leafs in twelve games, including four goals in his last seven. During that time, Toronto has gone 5-2-0.
Schenn, the player Van Riemsdyk was traded for, has been making his presence felt in a
different way, making big hits all around the ice in Saturday’s game. He was credited with eight hits and six blocked shots.
Saturday’s game saw the return of RW Wayne Simmonds, who had been out the past three games due to a concussion. There was some doubt as to if Simmonds would be medically cleared
to play, but he found himself ready to go by game time and logged 15:41 of on-ice time, along with two shots on goal.