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Game Day Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs (9-11-2-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (10-5-6-0).

Friday, 1 p.m. EST.

If the struggling Flyers want to end their current slump, they'll have to do so without John LeClair.

The Flyers begin life without their leading goal scorer on Friday as they take on the Toronto Maples Leafs for the second time in six days.

The Flyers are 1-4-4 and have scored just 12 goals in their last nine games, including a 7-2 thrashing at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

LeClair, who leads Philadelphia with 11 goals, is out indefinitely after suffering a separated shoulder during a collision with Penguins defenseman Marc Bergevin.

"We've got a little bit of a dilemma," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock admitted. "LeClair has had a good start to the season and other people will have to step up."

Left wing Simon Gagne, who scored a career-high 33 goals in 2001-02 but has only two in 21 games this season, may also miss Friday's game after injuring his side against Pittsburgh.

With his club shorthanded, Hitchcock will be looking for more offense from Leclair's struggling linemates. Mark Recchi has just one goal and one assist in his last 11 games and Keith Primeau went nine games without a goal before scoring against the Penguins.

Alyn McCauley made the trip but may not play in Philly.
Graig Abel Photography
The Maple Leafs are 5-2-0-0 in their last seven games following Tuesday's 5-4 victory over Washington.

Robert Svehla scored the game-winning power-play goal in the third period and added two assists to help Ed Belfour improve to 5-1-0 in his last six starts in Toronto.

"When I came here I thought we would win 40 games this season, so I was a little bit shocked at the beginning," said Svehla, who came to Toronto in a trade from Florida in July.

"We've played a lot of good games lately against good teams. Our confidence is better than two or three weeks ago."

Toronto, which is already without injured defenseman Bryan McCabe (foot), will also miss right wing Wade Belak for two games. Belak was suspended by the league for elbowing Brendan Witt late in the second period on Tuesday.

Shayne Corsson didn't travel with the team because of his groin injury. Alyn McCauley did go but will be a game-time decision because of a slight sprain to his wrist. Alexei Ponikarovsky has been called up to fill the void in case McCauley can't go.

The Maple Leafs ended the Flyers' five-game unbeaten streak on Nov. 23 with a 6-0 pasting at Air Canada Center. The loss was Philadelphia's worst since a 7-1 setback to New Jersey on Jan. 18, 2001.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 28):
Maple Leafs - 20 points, 4th place, 12 PB, Northeast Division.
Flyers - 26 points, 2nd place, 0 PB, Atlantic Division.

Maple Leafs - Alexander Mogilny, 11 goals and 24 points; Svehla, 14 assists; Tie Domi, 40 PIM.
Flyers - Leclair, 11 goals; Gagne and Kim Johnsson, 10 assists; Jeremy Roenick, 18 points; Donald Brashear, 41 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 28):
Maple Leafs - Power play: 21.6 percent (25-116), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (107-125), 9th.
Flyers - Power play: 14.0 percent (15 for 107), (tied) 20th. Penalty killing: 77.7 percent (87-112), (tied) 28th.

Maple Leafs - Belfour (8-7-2, 3 SO, 2.34 GAA); Trevor Kidd (1-4-0, 0, 4.24).
Flyers - Roman Cechmanek (7-5-4. 0, 2.35); Robert Esche(3-0-2, 0, 2.12).

Maple Leafs, 1-0.

Nov. 23; Maple Leafs, 6-0. At Toronto. Belfour turned aside all 25 shots as six different Maple Leafs scored.

Maple Leafs - 2-4-1-0 on the road;
Flyers - 5-1-4-0 at home.
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