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Thursday, February 9th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (28-20-6) at Philadelphia Flyers (30-16-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to halt their longest losing streak of the season when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs in tonight's Eastern Conference clash at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers are in the midst of an 0-2-1 stretch, marking the club's lengthiest skid since it went 0-3-2 from March 31-April 8 of last season. Philadelphia has just four wins over its last 11 contests (4-4-3) and is now just two points ahead of New Jersey and Pittsburgh for second in the Atlantic Division and the fourth seed in the East.
Philadelphia's offense was frustrated time and time again in Tuesday's 1-0 home loss to the New York Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 45-of-45 shots through overtime for the Isles and then stopped both Flyers participants in the shootout. Frans Nielsen and John Tavares both tallied in the shootout to make Nabokov's amazing performance stand up for the win.
After stopping all 18 shots in regulation and overtime, Flyers netminder Ilya Bryzgalov was beat by Nielsen on a fake to the backhand that was lifted high. After Danny Briere missed for Philadelphia, Tavares blew a wrister by Bryzgalov and Nabokov sealed the win when he made a right pad save on Wayne Simmonds' backhand offering.
Bryzgalov posted his second shutout of the season and 25th of his career in the losing effort.
"We didn't score tonight," said Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette. "There was traffic there at times, but not always. You are cycling the puck and you need bodies to cycle the puck. You can't do it with one man. There were opportunities where we did have guys, it just didn't go."
The Flyers, who trail the New York Rangers by four points for first in the Atlantic, are playing the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight and are 12-8-5 as the host this year. Philly will complete the residency when they welcome the Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Toronto enters tonight as the seventh seed in the East and is trailing Philadelphia by just five points in the East standings. The Maple Leafs had won three straight and posted a six-game point streak (5-0-1) before dropping a regulation decision Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Bryan Little scored the eventual game-winning goal midway through the second period to lift the Jets to a 2-1 win over the Leafs.
Phil Kessel tallied in his third consecutive game for Toronto, giving him 30 goals on the season -- six shy of his career-best total with Boston in 2008-09. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 27-of-29 shots in the loss.
"They did a good job in their zone, but we didn't direct enough pucks towards the net. We were trying to make an extra play, extra pass, things like that," Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said.
Toronto killed off two penalties on Tuesday and has now gone 16 straight games without allowing a power-play goal, the longest such streak in the league since the Chicago Blackhawks went 19 consecutive games without surrendering a power-play tally in 1969-70.
The Leafs are 12-12-2 on the road this year compared to a 16-8-4 record at home. After tonight's test, Toronto will return home to host the rival Canadiens on Saturday before heading back out on a three-game trip.
The Flyers have taken two straight and six of seven overall in the series against Toronto and the Leafs have lost six of seven in Philadelphia.
Tonight's test marks the second time brothers Luke and Brayden Schenn will play against each other. Luke is a defenseman for the Leafs and Brayden is a forward for the Flyers.
02/09 10:38:59 ET
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