Tonight, the Leafs host the Flyers in an attempt to avoid a season series sweep. We all remember what happened last time these two teams met. Claude Giroux scored a beautiful shootout goal worth two points for the Flyers.
Now that the playoffs are officially out of the picture, Carlyle and the rest of Leafsâ€™ staff will be using the final five games of the regular season to evaluate the roster. After an effort on home ice like Tuesday night’s against the Hurricanes, the expectation will be a more competitive showing in front of the paying Leafs fans tonight. One problem, tonight’s opponent is actually good.
The Leafs have only beat one playoff team since February 2nd, the seventh-placed Ottawa Senators, who with any luck will stumble over their final five games and fall out of the top eight.
The Flyers have outscored the Leafs by a 9-5 cumulative score in the three games played this season.
QUOTES TO NOTE:
“To have the collapse that we’ve had and the amount of games that we’ve lost and not been able to turn it around, it’s been extremely disappointing for the group,” captain Dion Phaneuf told reporters. “It felt like snowballing. We just could not find a way to climb back into it.”
We pretty much got that.
“As a coach we’re going to do a total evaluation of everybody,” Carlyle told reporters. “Obviously when you don’t make the playoffs there is always a certain amount of change that takes place. Naturally, from one year to the next there are always three or four changes in any lineup, and then when teams don’t make the playoffs there’s always going to be a lot more scrutiny put on the personnel that is here.”
“We’re hoping that he’ll be back on the ice practicing with the idea that he can play on the weekend,” Holmgren said. “It’s just going to be a little bit of pain management for Ilya. â€¦ Ilya’s a tough kid. He wants to play, and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with the team at practice on Friday.”
The Leafs will once again have to do without top six forwards Joffrey Lupul and Nikolai Kulemin. James Reimer is doubtful.
The Flyers have a multitude of injury woes. Their No1 goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov is out for tonight. Same goes for defensemen Chris Pronger, who will probably miss the rest of the season due to an eye injury, and Andrej Meszaros, who is out for a longer period of time. Forward James van Riemsdyk is still suffering concussion effects and defenseman Kimmo Timonen is doubtful for this game.