Flyers aim to avoid three-game skid against Leafs
Sunday, 10.23.2011 / 7:33 PM
FIVE THINGS - Toronto Maple Leafs
MAPLE LEAFS (5-1-1) at FLYERS (4-2-1)
1. KNOW THY ENEMY
The Toronto Maple Leafs come into tonight’s game with the NHL’s leading scorer, Phil Kessel, in both points (12) and goals (8) … The Maple Leafs are also leading their division with a 5-1-1 record for 11 points and third overall in the Eastern Conference.
2. SCHENN v. SCHENN
Tonight will be the first time in the regular season that brothers Luke Schenn, a defenseman for Toronto, and Brayden Schenn, Flyers rookie forward, will be facing each other. The two met in the Flyers preseason game earlier this year.
3. THAT WAS CLOSE
The Maple Leafs have had five of their last six games decided by one goal, three of which have gone past regulation play … Their goals-scored to goals-allowed differential is decided by one goal as well (GF: 24 – GA: 23).
4. Player to watch out for FLYERS: Danny Briere
In 36 career games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, center Danny Briere
has averaged OVER a point-per-game. He has recorded 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points and last season he recorded five points (3G-2A) in the four-game season series.
5. Player to watch out for MAPLE LEAFS – Clarke MacArthur
While Toronto sniper Phil Kessel will most likely be the most dangerous person on the ice for the Maple Leafs, given his season thus far, he does not have good career numbers against the Flyers. Clarke MacArthur does. MacArthur averages nearly a point-per-game with 10 assists and 12 points in 13 contests with the Flyers.
-- This is the first of four games between the teams this season. The Flyers won three of four meetings last season, including both games in Philadelphia.
-- The Leafs will try to snap a win one/lose one streak over their last four games (they won their last game), while the Flyers will look to pull out of a funk that has seen them lose two straight and three of their last four.
-- Mikhail Grabovski wasn't about to gloat too much, but scoring the overtime goal Saturday against his former team, the Montreal Canadiens, had to feel pretty good.
Taking a pass from John-Michael Liles down low, he spun and lifted a shot over Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
Moments earlier, he drew an assist on Nikolai Kulemin's game-tying goal in the third period.
Grabovski had been booed by the Bell Centre crowd every time he touched the puck.
"I don't hear anything," Grabovski said with a grin. "I think I just hear when (Mike) Komisarek touched the puck."
Winning the game was all he was happy about.
"I had my family here in town today from Toronto and I'm happy for them because they came and saw how we won the game and I scored the winning goal," said Grabovski.
-- With so many new faces, there were bound to be communication issues, and it cost them the game Saturday against St. Louis.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
and defenseman Braydon Coburn
botched a transfer behind the net, allowing the Blues' Matt D'Agostini to score 1:06 after the Flyers had made it a one-goal game.
"We have to establish it because it needs to be very simple," Bryzgalov said of communicating with his defensemen. "We need to have three words and everybody has to know these words … play it, leave it or over. Not, everybody comes up with his own words, like I'll pick up, or don't touch or something like that. It needs to be a simple three words so everybody understands everybody and we're all on the same page. And then we won't have this problem in the future."
Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger
agreed that the communication on the ice needs to get better.
"We need to talk to him first and foremost," he said. "You have to talk on the ice let him know where you are, where you want it. We do stuff like this in practice all the time. You have to work at it. We've got to do a better job at communicating with him. He's stopping the puck for us. When he sets it up we have to go get it from him."
-- Leafs forward Phil Kessel has 5 points in his last three games, and entered the week leading the League with 14 points and tied for the top spot with 8 goals. … With an assist Saturday, Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds
had 5 points in his first seven games, the best start of his first four NHL seasons.
-- TSN is reporting Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer likely will miss the game due to a neck injury suffered Saturday against Montreal. Forward Colby Armstrong also is out with an ankle injury. Center Tim Connolly is questionable with an upper-body injury. … The Flyers have a fully healthy team.
-- Jaromir Jagr
's seven-game goal drought is the longest he's gone from the start of an NHL season without scoring -- his previous long had been four games, in 1991-92 and 2007-08, his most recent previous NHL season. However, it's a far cry from the future Hall of Famer's longest goal drought -- 16 games, during his rookie season of 1990-91.
-- With so many new faces added this season, the Flyers were bound to run into a chemistry problem at some point. And in the last two games, they seem to have found plenty of them.
However, no one in black and orange is particularly worried, despite two straight losses.
"We have to continue to stay positive, to teach and to get to know each other," coach Peter Laviolette said following Sunday's practice. "As we grow we'll get strong by doing that. We have 82 games to build this and get it to where we want to be. Your goal by the end of that is to be a team that is ready to compete for the Cup."