Philadelphia Flyers (5-6-1--11pts)
Toronto Maple Leafs (7-5-0--14pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
1. THE FIRST MEETING SINCE…
Tonight's game will be the first meeting against former teammates for a pair of players… James van Riemsdyk will face off against the Flyers for the first time since being traded on June 23 of last year… Van Riemsdyk played 196 games with the Flyers in three seasons… One player that will be trying to stop him is the very player he was traded for, former Maple Leaf defenseman Luke Schenn… Schenn played 310 games with the Maple Leafs over four seasons… Schenn was the Leafs' first round draft pick (5th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, while JVR was the Flyers' first round draft pick (2nd overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
2. FLYERS vs LEAFS
Tonight is the first of three meetings this season against the Maple Leafs and first of two games at Toronto… The Flyers swept the season series last year against the Maple Leafs with their last meeting coming in the form of a 7-1 victory on Mar. 29… The Flyers have won nine of their last 10 games against Toronto dating back to Mar. 7, 2010 and have won five straight games at the Air Canada Centre, out-scoring the Maple Leafs, 16-4… Overall, the Flyers own a 162-88-50-22 lifetime record against Toronto.
3. THIS & THAT
The Flyers come into tonight's game having won three of their last four games, and earning points in all four games, while Toronto is on a three-game winning streak and has won five of their last seven games… Ilya Bryzgalov has a perfect 5-0-0 record against the Maple Leafs with a 1.21 GAA… Danny Briere averages over a point per game in his career against the Maple Leafs with 43 points (17g-26a) in 40 games… Toronto has the 3rd youngest roster in the NHL at 27.2 years of age… The Flyers rank 7th among NHL teams with 181 blocks on the season and are fourth in the league with 312 hits.
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Brayden Schenn
One would think it would be his brother Luke because of the storyline, however brother Brayden has been one of the hottest Flyers as of late… B. Schenn recorded a goal and two assists in the Flyers' 4-3 OT win vs. Carolina on Saturday and has recorded at least a point in four of his last five games for six points (2g-4a)… Schenn is tied (with Kimmo Timonen) for the team lead with six assists and tied for second on the team in points (with Jakub Voracek) with eight points.
5. Player to watch MAPLE LEAFS: James van Riemsdyk
Not only is there the storyline of playing his former team, JVR is the player to watch because he leads the team with seven goals, which also ranks tied for sixth in the NHL so far… Overall, he has nine points and has three goals in his last two games… If the recent trend of games holds up, look for JVR on a line with Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.
"It's probably going to be a different feeling out there, being on the visiting team side of the ice and visiting team locker room and bench, but I'm looking forward to it. It's a fresh start in Philadelphia, but a lot of great memories here in Toronto and I really enjoyed my four years here."
Following a slow start, the Philadelphia Flyers got a much-needed boost from a successful homestand. Their next challenge is keeping that momentum going on their longest road trip of the season.
In the opener of a six-game trek, the Flyers will try to add to the streaking Toronto Maple Leafs' home woes and continue their dominance in the series Monday night.
Philadelphia (5-6-1) went 3-0-1 on its homestand and bounced back from a shootout loss to Florida on Thursday with a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina two days later. Danny Briere netted the winner, only his second goal of 2013, and Brayden Schenn had his first three-point game during the regular season.
The Flyers have managed just 13 goals during a 1-5-0 start on the road - seven of those coming in a rout of Florida on Jan. 26.
"It was good to get back on track and we'll enjoy it for a little bit, but there's a huge road trip coming up," defenseman Luke Schenn said. "We have to be a lot better on the road and we know it."
A visit to Toronto would seem like a good place to start for Philadelphia as it's won five in a row there. The Flyers have also taken five straight overall in the series and are 9-1-0 in their last 10 against the Maple Leafs (7-5-0), though they'll face a team that just swept a three-game trip.
Toronto outscored opponents 12-4 in those contests and capped the stretch with a 6-0 victory over Montreal on Saturday. After ending a 10-game goal drought Thursday, Leafs forward Phil Kessel found the net again and added two assists in a game marred by 116 penalty minutes.
Kessel had six points on the trip after recording four in his first nine games, and the next task for him is to help the Leafs improve on a 1-4-0 home record. Toronto has been outscored 16-9 in those contests and produced one or fewer goals in three of them.
"Now we've got to get it going at the (Air Canada Centre)," forward Clarke MacArthur said. "It's a place where we've got to get some positive energy. The fans have been great there, and we have to get something going."
Toronto has been outscored 16-4 in its five straight home losses to Philadelphia, falling 7-1 in the most recent March 29.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 29 saves in a 1-0 shootout victory March 10 in the other Flyers visit to Toronto last season. Bryzgalov is 5-0-0 with a 1.21 goals-against average against the Leafs, his lowest GAA versus any opponent.
Briere's 43 points in 40 games versus Toronto (17 goals, 26 assists) are his most against any team.
Schenn was the No. 5 overall pick by the Leafs in 2008 and played four seasons with the team before being traded for van Riemsdyk on June 23. Van Riemsdyk had 47 goals and 52 assists in three seasons with Philadelphia.
Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds made his return from a concussion Saturday.
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