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Game Journal: Game 44 - Maple Leafs vs. Flyers

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

4:30 PM:
Tonight's officials will be Frederick L'Ecuyer and Brad Watson. Andy McElman and Tony Sericolo will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight's game can watch on TSN 4, listen on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Joe Bowen tee up tonight's game in Philly below.

4:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Flyers.

Toronto Maple Leafs


40 Grabner - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov

23 Matthias - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau

19 Lupul - 24 Holland - 28 Boyes

26 Winnik - 56 Froese - 25 Clune


51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf

2 Hunwick - 44 Rielly

52 Marincin - 46 Polak


34 Reimer

45 Bernier

Philadelphia Flyers


93 Voracek - 28 Giroux - 17 Simmonds

12 Raffl - 14 Couturier - 10 Schenn

24 Read - 21 Laughton - 20 Umberger

76 VandeVelde - 78 Bellemare - 25 White


15 Del Zotto - 3 Gudas

55 Schultz - 32 Streit

53 Gostisbehere - 82 Medvedev


35 Mason

30 Neuvirth

3:45 PM:
James Reimer gets the start against the Flyers tonight. Here's what he had to say following morning skate...

Leafs TV

Have you been pleased with your consistency coming back from injury?

I feel like I've been playing well for the most part. Unfortunately the wins haven't been there but you keep working hard, sticking to the plan and doing what you can to give yourself a chance to win. Tonight I think the boys are fired up and we're ready to go so hopefully we can pull out two points.

How is the coach's challenge going from a goalie's perspective?

Good, I think it's always nice when a goal gets called back when it gets by you. I think it's good. I think it adds a little more integrity to the game and keeps it an honest game. From a goalie's standpoint, you're never going to argue when one gets called back.

Do you find the play in front of you has changed as a result of the challenge?

I'm not quite sure. I'd almost say it's changed. It felt like at the start of the year it [getting hit by skaters] was almost more than normal but the last couple of games it hasn't been as much. I don't know if that has to do with the rule or whatnot but I feel like it has kind of fluctuated a bit. I don't know if I could give you a definitive answer.

How strong is Roman Polak in terms of clearing the net and letting you see what's coming?

He's awesome. He's an animal out there. He's a big, strong guy and he does a great job of clearing guys out and picking up sticks so guys can't get second whacks and stuff. Whenever he's out there you know he's got your back and he'll do whatever it takes. It's always a pleasure when he's on the ice.

What are you doing for the all-star break?

Just heading some place warm. Just trying to work on this nice tan I have going on.

3:30 PM: Mike Babcock spoke to the media in Philadelphia on Tuesday following the Leafs' morning skate. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

On the Flyers:

Well, I mean, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, pretty good looking crew up front for sure. Couturier is their matchup guy. I think they've got a nice team and they're trying to build a real program here and it looks like they're going in the right direction.

How do you keep the day-to-day separate from the noise of the Toronto market?

We talked about that at the start but I think that's a waste of energy and time. Who do you value as an opinion in your life? Let's get on with it. I don't even know this is going on. I know that I talk to Lou every day, I talk to my coaching staff every day, I talk to my players every day, I talk to Shanny, Kyle Dubas. Those are the opinions that are getting that influence hockey. I talk to my wife and kids every day, that's kind of what matters to me. The rest of it to me, you can get caught up in anything. You can say -- I've got young kids so I know they're on their phone all the time and they know everything that's said or going on in the world. But, that's part of what they grow up with, the information overload. They probably like. Let's get on with it.

If you could change one more thing about this team magically what would it be?

If I could change one more thing magically... I'm not a big magic guy but I guess what I would say would say to you is I think your determination should show every night. Not every second night or every third night or when you're feeling good. Every night. That, to me, is our goal for our team is that we're prepared and we're competitive every single night. When you do that the score looks after itself. If there's any one thing, and that's not one thing, but if there's any one thing, that's what I'd give you.

Is it going to be tougher to keep the room focused given the standings and the trade deadline approaching?

It might be. The way I'd look at it is I got up today and knew we were playing Philly and thought about finding a way to get a win. That's what I'd do if I was a player.

Are you happy you've got the coach's challenge?

This would be me -- an offside that you miss by a fraction of an inch that caused a goal that had nothing really to do with being offside, that's not what the rules are, does it matter? Does it matter? I don't know if it matters. Should those two goals that we called back really count? I thought they were good plays, I thought they should count. I don't know the answer to any of these questions. What's next?

How do you find offence in your lineup?

We talked about that today and our focus is on how to do that. That's what we spent our time on and that's what our concern will be today. That's what our focus will be today. Keeping it out of our net and getting it in their net. What I've found is the more time you spend in the offensive zone, the more fun you have and the better chance you have to score goals... Win faceoffs, be heavier on the forecheck, don't turn pucks over in the neutral zone, break out faster. They all go together. Which one comes first? The chicken or the egg.

3:00 PM: The Maple Leafs kick off their week in Philadelphia on Tuesday night when they take on the Flyers.

The Leafs are coming off a 3-2 loss in Boston on Saturday night. Leo Komarov and Shawn Matthias had the goals for Toronto while Jonathan Bernier made 42 stops in the loss. James Reimer will get the start against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The Flyers last played on Sunday night and beat the Red Wings by a 2-1 score. Claude Giroux had the lone Flyers goal in regulation and Jakub Voracek had the shootout winner to clinch victory for Philadelphia. Michal Neuvirth had 29 saves and was named first star in the win. Steve Mason will start for Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock, James Reimer, projected lineups and more.

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