NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 3rd
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (32-32-13) at Philadelphia Flyers (41-25-10), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to avoid a home-and-home
sweep at the hands of the Maple Leafs when they host Toronto tonight at the
The Flyers lost for the third time in four games Wednesday night, as it
dropped a close decision in Toronto. The setback had allowed red-hot
Pittsburgh, which beat New Jersey on Wednesday, to tie Philadelphia for the
fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Carolina has since taken over the
fourth spot and is one point ahead of the Flyers and Penguins.
While it's unfortunate that Philly has been unable to capitalize on New
Jersey's recent six-game slide, a more pressing issue is how far the Flyers
could stand to fall in the East standings. The club is just three points ahead
of Montreal for the conference's eighth and final postseason berth.
The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, have been officially eliminated from postseason
play, but were able to successfully play the spoiler role in Wednesday's home
game against the Flyers. Ian White netted the game-winner in the second period
and Curtis Joseph was solid with 32 saves, as Toronto notched the 3-2 victory
at Air Canada Centre.
Jamal Mayers and Lee Stempniak also scored for the Maple Leafs, who snapped a
two-game skid and won for the third time in their last five games.
One humbling fact for the Maple Leafs is that for the first time ever, the
club will miss the postseason for a fourth consecutive season. Also, Toronto's
Stanley Cup drought will extend to 42 years thanks to the Leafs exclusion from
the postseason tournament.
Claude Giroux registered a goal and an assist for the Flyers. Martin Biron was
replaced by Antero Niittymaki in the second period after surrendering three
goals on 28 shots. Niittymaki turned aside all 10 shots he faced for the
remainder of the contest.
Toronto has taken two of three from the Flyers this year and has won four of
five and 10 of the last 13 encounters between the clubs. The Leafs have lost
two of their last three trips to Philadelphia, but have still won six of eight
road games against the Flyers.
The Flyers are 22-12-4 as the host this season, but the club has lost two
straight and three of their last four games in the City of Brotherly Love.
Next up for Philadelphia is Saturday's road test against the Ottawa Senators.
Toronto has lost three of its last four road games and is just 17-18-4 as the
guest this season. The Leafs will return home for Saturday's game against the
rival Montreal Canadiens.
04/03 10:47:37 ET