Flyers-Leafs: Pre-Game Notes

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs, spiralling of late with a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 games, will to right the ship at home tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.   The Leafs will also be looking for revenge in this matchup, having been on the receiving end of a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of the Flyers only a week ago.

    A couple of quick notes leading into tonight’s game:

    • Although both teams struggled to start the season, the Leafs and Flyers are moving opposite directions in the standings.  As mentioned, the Leafs are 2-7-1 in their past 10 games, and currently in the midst of a 4-game losing streak.  The Flyers are 8-1-1 in their past 10 games, and are currently riding a 4-game winning streak.
    • Jay Rosehill makes his return to the big club, having been called up to inject some pugnacity into the lineup against a rough-and-tumble Flyers squad.  Viktor Stalberg has been sent back to the AHL in order to make room.
    • Stalberg’s demotion has less to do with the team being disappointed with his play, and more to do with wanting him to see more ice time in less of a pressure-intensive environment.  Expect him to be back sooner rather than later.
    • Tyler Bozak impressed enough against Carolina to remain on the top line with Phil Kessel and Nik Kulemin.  He  needs to shoot the puck more, but that said the chemistry between he and his new linemates was impressive – especially considering he had not played with either previously.
    • The forward lines will remain the same as they were against Carolina, with Rosehill taking Stalberg’s spot on the 4th line riding shotgun alongside Colton Orr and Jamal Mayers.  Expect this line to see a lot of ice time in the opening period, with an eye toward setting the tone early.
    • Carl Gunnarsson also returns from injury tonight, adding much needed mobility to the Leafs’ blueline.  Indications are Jeff Finger will likely be the odd man out.
    • Jonas Gustavsson, who allowed all 6 goals in the two teams’ last meeting, will get the night off.
    • Vesa Toskala gets the nod for the Leafs and will face Michael Leighton, winner of the previous meeting.
    • After going pointless in 10 out of 11 games prior, Phil Kessel has recorded an assist in each of the past two games.
    • As to why that particular stat line is worthy of mention, I point you to this most excellent bit of analysis.

    Again, don’t worry too much about Stalberg, folks.  He will be back in the Leafs’ lineup soon enough. After all, they’re playing the Flyers tonight — odds are someone’s going to get more than just a little banged up before this one’s over.

    On that note, if you’re desperate for a last minute fantasy roster move and your league rewards points for penalty minutes, Carcillo and Rosehill ought to earn you a couple quick points.   The referees will be watching this one closely, especially in the wake of Carcillo’s antics last time out and the timing of Rosehill’s recall.  A number of 10-minute misconducts will likely be handed out before this one is through.

    Tonight’s bloodbath can be seen live on TSN at 7pm.

    Looking forward to your thoughts as always,

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