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Toronto
Maple Leafs
41-33-8
Philadelphia
Flyers
45-26-11

29 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
TOR
PHI
game preview

Maple Leafs-Flyers Preview

Saturday, 04.08.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (36-32-8) at Philadelphia Flyers (42-23-11).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

Having clinched a playoff spot in an arena where they usually struggle, the Philadelphia Flyers look to maintain their momentum when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Wachovia Center.

The Flyers have clinched their fifth straight playoff berth after defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Friday. The victory was their first in Buffalo since April 8, 2001 and the first in four games this season against the Sabres.

"From a confidence standpoint, this helps us," Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We know we can come in and play well in this building."

Simon Gagne had a goal and two assists for Philadelphia, giving him sixth points in the last four games. The Flyers needed the effort without Peter Forsberg and Petr Nedved, who both sat out with groin injuries.

The win was a big confidence boost for the Flyers, who could face the Sabres in the playoffs.

"This has been a difficult building for us," said goaltender Robert Esche, who made 20 saves. "This was a step in the right direction, especially if they are our first-round (opponent)."

Philadelphia is three points behind the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers and within five points of the fourth-place Sabres in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

After losing their seventh shootout game of the season 3-2 to Boston on Thursday, the Leafs find themselves seven points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot with six games to go.

Two of the shootout losses came within the last week.

"We can't seem to find a way to win in those situations," said coach Pat Quinn. "Those are two big points. They both went to shootouts and obviously we haven't done well there."

Toronto was down 2-1 late in the third period before Mats Sundin scored with 13 seconds left in regulation to salvage the point for the team.

"We kind of stole a point," goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin said. "I'd love to win a game in the shootout, but we need to build positives."

The Leafs have not missed the playoffs since the 1997-98 season.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 80 points, 4th place, 28 PB, Northeast Division. Flyers - 95 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 26 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 51 assists; Sundin and Bryan McCabe, 64 points; Bryan McCabe, 112 PIM. Flyers - Gagne, 44 goals; Forsberg, 55 assists and 74 points; Donald Brashear, 136 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.0 percent (92 for 460), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (369 for 463), 24th. Flyers - Power play: 18.1 percent (76 for 420), 13th (tied). Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (343 for 431), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Aubin (4-0-2, 1 SO, 1.79 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (10-10-2, 2, 3.00). Flyers - Esche (20-9-5, 1, 2.93); Antero Niittymaki (22-14-6, 2, 2.98).

SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 28; Maple Leafs, 3-2. At Philadelphia, Aubin made 28 saves in his second start of the season and Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Steen scored in the third period to give the Leafs the win.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 13-20-5 on the road; Flyers - 20-12-6 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 08 '06TOR 5 at PHI 2J. O'Neill
Mar 28 '06TOR 3 at PHI 2A. Steen
Oct 22 '05PHI 5 at TOR 2M. Knuble
Oct 11 '05PHI 2 at TOR 4J. O'Neill
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%