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Leafs Unable To Take Flight

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Iaboni

December 9, 2010
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
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2 2 0 0 0 4
0 1 0 0 0 1

For the second straight game, the Leafs fell behind 3-0. Mikhail Grabovski finished off a nice passing play to get them back in the game but it was short lived.

Just 1:03 later, the Flyers broke in on the 2-on-1 with Danny Briere converting the Andrej Meszaros pass for his second goal of the game. It pushed the lead back to three goals and the Leafs were never able to get back in the game as the Flyers protected their lead.

4 Straight wins for the Flyers over the Leafs.
10 Shots by Phil Kessel - seven on net, two blocked and one missed.
24:36 Ice-time for Dion Phaneuf in his first game since November 2.
93 Per cent for Jeff Carter on face-offs (13-of-14).
3 Straight games with a goal for Mikhail Grabovski.
1st Star
Danny Briere
G A P +/- Shots
2 1 3 +3 5
2nd Star
Andrej Maszaros
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 +2 2
3rd Star
Brian Boucher
32 31 1 59:58 .968
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In recent years one player who always seems to hurt the Leafs is Danny Briere - first when he was with the Sabres and now as a member of the Flyers.

He was Philadelphia's best player on the night picking up three points. In his career he has 36 points in 34 games against Toronto. He has a knack for scoring timely goals and he did that Thursday. His first goal put the lead to 3-0 and his 4-1 marker sealed the game.

Keith Aulie continues to impress on the Leafs blueline. The 21 year-old has yet to record a point in the NHL but his play in the defensive end makes up for a lack of offence.

Against the Flyers, Aulie was steady and despite playing just over 10 minutes, he saw a great deal of time on the penalty kill. He led all players in the game with six hits which ties a career high that he accomplished Monday in Washington.

Winning face-offs was one of the strengths early this season for the Blue and White but in their last two games they have been atrocious.

Wednesday, the Leafs won just 31 per cent and Thursday it was 32 per cent, not numbers that will help you. The first two Flyers' goals were an end result to lost draws and it is a real issue on the power play. The Leafs have to constantly go back to their own zone and regroup wasting valuable time. It is an area the Leafs will need to get better at in a hurry.

Ron Wilson on Dion Phaneuf's first game back since November 2:
"He did a lot of good things. It looked like he tired. We probably used him a wee bit too much but we end up down in a game like that fairly early your bench gets a little bit shorter. The third period was a bit of a struggle because I don't think he had much gas. That's why I'm glad that I didn't play him last night because he wouldn't have been able to compete as hard tonight as he did. He still made a lot of nice plays."

Saturday, December 11 vs. Montreal 
7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)

Game Notes:
The Leafs play the first of four straight against Canadian opponents when the Habs make their second appearance this season at Air Canada Centre.

This will be the second game of a back-to-back for Montreal as they are in Detroit on Friday. Heading into their games this weekend, Montreal had won three in a row.

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