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Gameday Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (14-12-2-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (13-7-6-1).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

After finally breaking out of their offensive slump, the Philadelphia Flyers try to solve Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ed Belfour when the teams meet for the third time this season.

The Flyers went into Tuesday night's game against the Florida Panthers hoping to get back on track offensively and they did so in convincing fashion.

Ed Belfour hasn't allowed a Flyers' goal yet this year.
Graig Abel Photography
Simon Gagne scored two unassisted goals as the Flyers won 5-2 in their best offensive output since a 6-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 31.

"Five is a good number," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I thought we were really good bringing it in from the back end and we created some problems for the opposition."

The outburst ended the team-record streak of 16 games without scoring more than three goals. The Flyers scored only 22 goals in that span after scoring 40 in their first 10 games.

Gagne, who scored a career-high 33 last season, doubled this season's total to four. Justin Williams scored for the second time in five games for Philadelphia.

"This is a huge game for us, as well as Gagne and Williams," Roenick said.

"It's nice to see them produce and know it's a load off their minds."

Philadelphia will be looking to score its first goal this season against Belfour, who made a combined 46 saves in 6-0 and 3-0 wins over the Flyers last month.

Belfour, who leads the NHL with five shutouts, made 14 saves as Toronto beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Tuesday. He is 5-0 in his last five appearances, and the resurgent Leafs have won 10 of 13 to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

"He's a great goalie," Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. "He's been one of the best goalies in the league the last 10 years, so for us it's no surprise the way he's been playing."

Belfour is 6-5-8 with three shutouts and a 2.43 goals-against average in 19 career appearances against the Flyers.

Maple Leafs - 30 points, 3rd place (tied), 12 PB, Northeast Division.
Flyers - 33 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Atlantic Division.

Maple Leafs - Sundin, 14 goals; Alexander Mogilny, 19 assists and 31 points; Tie Domi, 51 PIM.
Flyers - Roenick and John LeClair, 11 goals; Gagne, 12 assists; Roenick, 20 points; Donald Brashear, 45 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 10):
Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.4 percent (28 for 137), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.8 percent (131 for 151), 4th.
Flyers - Power play: 12.5 percent (16 for 128), 26th (tied). Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (104 for 132), 27th.

Maple Leafs - Belfour (13-7-2, 5 SO, 2.07 GAA); Trevor Kidd (1-5-0, 4.21).
Flyers - Roman Cechmanek (9-7-4, 2.15); Robert Esche (4-1-2, 2.09).

SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 29; Maple Leafs, 3-0. At Philadelphia, Belfour made 21 saves to take the lead in shutouts among active NHL goalies with 62.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 3-5-1-0 on the road; Flyers - 6-3-4-1 at home.
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