Philadelphia Flyers vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Friday NHL game preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs

The Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs meet Tuesday in NHL action at the Scotiabank Arena.

Philadelphia Flyers vs Toronto Maple Leafs stream

The Philadelphia Flyers look for another win after winning six of their last nine games. The Philadelphia Flyers are averaging three goals per game and are scoring on 17.1 percent of their power play opportunities. Sean Couturier leads Philadelphia with 28 goals, Claude Giroux has 53 assists and Jakub Voracek has 178 shots on goal. Defensively, the Philadelphia Flyers are allowing 3.3 goals per game and are killing 77.9 percent of their opponents power plays. Brian Elliott has given up 55 goals on 655 shots faced and Carter Hart has allowed 55 goals on 662 shots. The Philadelphia Flyers have allowed three or less goals in six of their last nine games.

It has been a long time since the Maple Leafs have had to worry about their goaltending barometer, but Andersen’s starts durnig the past two games, whether a product of team troubles or not, are a concern. He will face a Philly team primed for a late-season playoff push, and while Giroux’s offensive numbers are down from last year, it’s go time.

FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

Orange wave
Have the Flyers left this too late? While they’re finally getting some quality goaltending, there are a lot of difficult teams on the menu to get past and make up ground, including this first of two dates with the Leafs coming after a home date versus Washington. In the only meeting this year, the Flyers were whacked 6-0 at SBA with Andreas Johnsson netting a hat trick.

Home alone
Toronto has heard boos at SBA twice from its fickle fans this week, but has not lost three in a row on Bay St. this season. On Wednesday, the Leafs came close to their first five-goal comeback to win since a 7-6 overtime victory over Boston in 1989. They have to carry those 29 third-period shots into Friday, especially with a day off.

Where there’s a will
After sputtering much of his shortened season, William Nylander has looked more dynamic of late and coach Mike Babcock called it his most engaged performance of the season for generating chances.

JVR is back
Though he was blanked in the first homecoming, former Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk is up to 21 goals after an early season injury. He has two power play goals, an area the Flyers have laboured on.

Puck protection
This should be a good game in the dots, the two best faceoff teams in the league, though the Flyers’ 55.3% is a big lead and Claude Giroux is at almost 60%. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs could use a win here after splitting their last eight games. The Toronto Maple Leafs are averaging 3.6 goals per game and are scoring on 22.3 percent of their power play opportunities. John Tavares leads Toronto with 39 goals, Mitch Marner has 60 assists and Morgan Rielly has 187 shots on goal. Defensively, the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 80.3 percent of their opponents power plays. Frederik Andersen has given up 135 goals on 1,696 shots faced and Garret Sparks has allowed 44 goals on 467 shots. The Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed three or less goals in 10 of their last 13 games.

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The Flyers are 4-0 in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest, 8-2 in their last 10 road games and 5-2 in their last 7 games as a road underdog. The Maple Leafs are 36-16 in their last 52 games as a home favorite, 53-25 in their last 78 games as a favorite and 39-18 in their last 57 home games. The home team is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings and the favorite is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings. The over is 7-2-1 in Flyers last 10 overall. The over is 8-2 in Maple Leafs last 10 overall.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in need of a bounce back victory after their defense fell apart in their last two games against the Lightning and Blackhawks. The Philadelphia Flyers are quite hot and have had no problem winning on the end of back to backs, but this is a tough schedule spot after just playing another playoff team in the Washington Capitals. The home team has also won six of the last seven meetings between the Maple Leafs and Flyers. This is a game the Maple Leafs should be able to win on their home ice.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could use a win here after splitting their last eight games. The Toronto Maple Leafs are averaging 3.6 goals per game and are scoring on 22.3 percent of their power play opportunities. John Tavares leads Toronto with 39 goals, Mitch Marner has 60 assists and Morgan Rielly has 187 shots on goal. Defensively, the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 80.3 percent of their opponents power plays. Frederik Andersen has given up 135 goals on 1,696 shots faced and Garret Sparks has allowed 44 goals on 467 shots. The Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed three or less goals in 10 of their last 13 games.

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The Flyers are 4-0 in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest, 8-2 in their last 10 road games and 5-2 in their last 7 games as a road underdog. The Maple Leafs are 36-16 in their last 52 games as a home favorite, 53-25 in their last 78 games as a favorite and 39-18 in their last 57 home games. The home team is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings and the favorite is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings. The over is 7-2-1 in Flyers last 10 overall. The over is 8-2 in Maple Leafs last 10 overall.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in need of a bounce back victory after their defense fell apart in their last two games against the Lightning and Blackhawks. The Philadelphia Flyers are quite hot and have had no problem winning on the end of back to backs, but this is a tough schedule spot after just playing another playoff team in the Washington Capitals. The home team has also won six of the last seven meetings between the Maple Leafs and Flyers. This is a game the Maple Leafs should be able to win on their home ice.Recommended videosPowered by AnyClip

The Flyers’ Sean Couturier had points in five straight games heading into Thursday night. He led the Flyers in scoring since Nov. 1, with 61 points in 55 games. Leafs rookie Andreas Johnsson has been a strong performer over the past two months, and should at least factor into the Calder Trophy discussion.

NEED TO KNOW

Leafs fans will catch a glimpse of another strong rookie in Philadelphia forward Oskar Lindblom, who has points in three of his last four games and has seen time on the first power-play unit … Jacob Voracek will return to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension … Carter Hart was to start in goal against Washington on Thursday, his first game since Feb. 21 (ankle injury). Hart is 13-8-1 since his debut Dec. 18 … Scott Laughton also has a five-game point streak … The Flyers had earned 38 points since Jan. 14 through Wednesday’s games, tied for the most over that span. But the road to the end of the season is difficult: Philadelphia plays seven games in 11 days, with six of them against teams currently holding a playoff spot.

The Flyers’ rookie netminder is back in action Thursday night against the Capitals for his first start since suffering an ankle injury Feb. 21 in Montreal.

Hart comes into this game with a 13-8-1 record, 2.79 GAA and .917 save percentage.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s essentials:

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers enter the final 13 games of the regular season trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets by five points for the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference.

Interestingly, the Flyers also found themselves five points back of the Islanders with 13 games remaining in 2017. They finished that season with a 7-4-2 record (.620 percentage) and seven points back of the final wild-card spot.

Expect plenty of scoring once again. Both the Flyers and Capitals have scored exactly 33 goals over their last eight games, and have tallied at least three goals in each of those games.

• Hart and Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby share the same Edmonton-based sports psychologist John Stevenson, and Hart is looking forward to squaring off against a goalie he has admired over the years. Holtby guided the Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship last June, and Hart will have similar expectations.

He looks really good, solid and I feel like watching him, we kind of play a similar style in a lot of ways where he really uses his skating. It’s fun to see a goalie like that. He’s got the talent and he’s got the mentality. The big thing with him is just make sure you stick with it at this level.

– Holtby on Hart

Hart will be the fourth different Flyers goaltender the Capitals have faced this season. Mike McKenna made his only Flyers appearance on Jan. 8, allowing four goals in a 5-3 loss. Brian Elliott was pulled after surrendering four goals to the Caps on March 6, and Cam Talbot played 33:27 in relief.

• The Flyers will be without forward Jakub Voracek after losing an appeal to have his two-game suspension reduced. Voracek met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the league’s Department of Player Safety chief George Parros Tuesday for 75 minutes.

Bettman determined the onus was on Voracek to avoid causing a significant blow to Johnny Boychuk’s head.• Claude Giroux saw his season-high eight-game point streak end in Monday’s 3-2 win over the Senators despite playing 24:40.

It was the ninth time this season Giroux has topped the 24-minute mark in a game, all under interim head coach Scott Gordon. However, the Flyers are just 3-4-2 when Giroux logs 24-plus TOI.

• Alex Ovechkin became the 49th player in NHL history to reach the 1,200-point milestone with an assist Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Ovechkin joins Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton as the only active players to reach that elusive mark.

Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke is the only Flyer to reach that milestone, finishing his 15-year career with 1,210 career points.

Projected lineup

Forwards
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Claude Giroux
James van Riemsdyk-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Ryan Hartman
Phil Varone-Corban Knight-Justin Bailey

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas

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