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PRACTICE UPDATE: Explanations, injuries and moving on to Toronto

News, notes and storylines to come out of Flyers practice on Friday

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

After a quick flight on Thursday from Ottawa to Toronto, the Flyers held a full practice at the Air Canada Centre in preparation to take on the Maple Leafs. Both teams are looking to rebound coming off losses with the Leafs taking a 6-3 loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes.

CONTINUOUS PLAY?

Questions still remained about the "no-goal" call at the end of the Flyers-Senators game, where center Sean Couturier played a shot from behind the net and took a couple whacks at the loose puck beside Anderson. Despite video replay showing the puck in the net, the goal was disallowed.

 

"Its a goal. I know it's a goal. I was standing there and watched it go over the line. It was pretty clearly in the net," said Simmonds, who was in the crease with Couturier in the final minutes. "We have to put it past us now and focus on Toronto. We put ourselves in that hole so we have no one to blame but ourselves."

The task remains just that for the Flyers, despite the fact that the argument is sure to carry on in conversations around the league. Moving on from it but using it as motivation can be another way to stop a two-game skid in it's track.

"It can't be a focus of ours. We need to move on and we need to move on today. Not tomorrow or two days from now or a week from now. We as a group, we're pros, we have to move on," said Flyers GM Ron Hextall. "We can use it as a rallying point. We made some mistakes in the first period but we played a pretty good game overall. In my mind we deserved to win the game despite our hiccups in the first period so we can take some positives out of it so let's make it a rallying point rather than sit and cry about it."

More from Hextall below 

Video: Ron Hextall on controversial calls vs. OTT

 

TOUGH TEST AWAITS

For third time in their last six games, the Flyers will be facing a Top 5 offense in the NHL, at least in terms of goals per-game. They held the Florida Panthers (4th) to just one goal in a 5-1 win, and nearly matched the Senators (5th) falling just short in their 5-4 loss on Thursday.

 The Flyers will have their toughest test defensively on Saturday's marquee matchup on Hockey Night in Canada. The Maple Leafs have the most goals per-game this season, averaging 4.30 through their first 10 games and are third in the league on the power-play, operating at 28.2 percent.

One hidden key to their fast start this season could be the difference in the face-off circle. The Leafs are tops in the NHL at 54.2 winning percentage on draws. Last season, the Leafs were in the middle of the pack a shade under 50 percent at 49.9, while the Flyers were amongst the Top 5 (52.3%).

 "It's [a game] of strategy and finding ways to be able to get better with the new rule and I think as a team we're doing pretty good, but we can still get better," said Claude Giroux, who despite moving to wing on the top line has taken the most draws at 144 and is operating at nearly 57 percent (56.9).

Video: Patrick, Simmonds and Giroux on looking forward

 

 THE A-MAC EFFECT & STILL AT SIX

The Flyers blueline remains at six players, rather than the usual seven that travel with the team. There was certainly a danger of that being reduced to five after Radko Gudas received a five minute major for charging and a game misconduct at the end of the game, but no disciplinary hearing is scheduled.

"I didn't think it was a bad hit at all," said Gudas. "I thought I did most of the things I could do right and I didn't think it was a match penalty but like I said, it's tough to say what the refs are thinking and probably they saw a different angle and they made the call at the certain time of game."

 Flyers GM Ron Hextall, was among the group that strongly felt the call wasn't warranted.

"Radko hits hard. He hits as hard as anybody in the league, so his hits are impact hits. If one of our 17 other skaters makes that hit last night nothing comes out of it. It's the exact same hit, exact same body position, everything. It's just that Radko, he's so strong, his hits make an impact and at times it's not fair."

The Flyers have been at six defensemen ever since the loss of alternate captain Andrew MacDonald, who made several blocks including a possible game-saving block & clear in the Flyers' 1-0 win vs. Edmonton last Saturday.

The result has been a switch of pairings at the blueline ever since.

"You hope we correct it right away and guys get familiar with each other but a lot of these guys haven't played together much and that's reality," added Hextall. "There's nothing you can do about it - it's no excuse, but I think [vs. Ottawa] towards the end they looked like they felt comfortable together."

 

PATRICK STATUS… AND HAGG

As he has been ever since leaving the Flyers-Ducks game with an upper-body injury, Nolan Patrick skated again today with the full team on his regular line at center.

"There are some league protocols and things you have to go through before you can get back in the lineup so there are some things I have to follow," said Patrick. "I still have a few things to do before I can play… I feel good so hopefully I can play Saturday."

Patrick missed his first full game of his NHL career on Thursday. It was also the first opportunity he had to watch from the pressbox because he appeared in every possible game during the preseason.

"The game looks a lot different from up there. You can kind of see how teams play their systems a lot easier than if you were on the ice so those were a few different things I noticed about Ottawa's game last night."

One rookie who was missing from the ice today was d-man Robert Hagg, who Hextall announced was a maintenance day. Hagg appeared in 16:31 of ice time against the Sens, the second lowest of his NHL career (only to opening night at San Jose - 16:13).

Manning-Sanheim, Gostisbehere-Provorov were paired, while there was a rotation with Gudas with Hagg not on the ice.

Puck drop at the ACC is 7 p.m. Saturday on NBCSP+ and 93.3 WMMR.

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