FLYERS (44-24-8) at MAPLE LEAFS (33-35-9)
TV: TSN, CSN-PH (HD)
Philadelphia 6-3-1; Toronto 3-5-2
The Flyers will attempt to sweep the season series as the teams meet for the fourth and final time. In their most recent meeting, Claude Giroux
scored the game's only goal in the shootout for a 1-0 Philadelphia victory in Toronto.
How will the Flyers do without red-hot starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
, who is out with a chip fracture in his foot? And how will the Leafs perform in their first game since having their final playoff hopes extinguished?
Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren won't have his star goalie Thursday in Toronto, but he's optimistic that might be the only game Bryzgalov misses.
Bryzgalov was injured during the pre-game warm-ups Monday night when he was hit in the right foot with a shot, and an MRI Tuesday revealed a chip fracture in the foot.
However, Holmgren believes he'll see Bryzgalov on the ice Friday and possibly in one of the team's games this weekend -- Saturday against Ottawa and Sunday in Pittsburgh.
"We're hoping that he'll be back on the ice practicing with the idea that he can play on the weekend," Holmgren said. "It's just going to be a little bit of pain management for Ilya. … Ilya's a tough kid. He wants to play, and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with the team at practice on Friday."
Following a 6-3 win against Edmonton on Feb. 6, the Leafs were sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind fourth-place Pittsburgh.
Since then, however, they're 5-16-3, and following Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes, they sunk to 14th in the East and officially were eliminated from playoff contention.
"To have the collapse that we've had and the amount of games that we've lost and not been able to turn it around, it's been extremely disappointing for the group," captain Dion Phaneuf
told reporters. "It felt like snowballing. We just could not find a way to climb back into it."
Flyers forward Matt Read
has goals in two straight games, tying him for the rookie lead with 22. … Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur
has gone five games without a point, but seeing the Flyers could change that. In 16 games, he has 12 points against them.
The Flyers will be without Bryzgalov (foot) and defenseman Kimmo Timonen
(upper body). Defenseman Andreas Lilja
is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. … Leafs forwards Joffrey Lupul
(shoulder) and Nikolai Kulemin
(finger) are out. Goalie James Reimer
(upper body) is doubtful for Thursday's game.
Randy Carlyle is 4-7-2 since taking over as coach of the Maple Leafs.
Carlyle said now that the playoffs officially are out, he and his staff will be using the final five games of the regular season to evaluate every member of the roster.
"As a coach we're going to do a total evaluation of everybody," he told reporters. "Obviously when you don't make the playoffs there is always a certain amount of change that takes place. Naturally, from one year to the next there's always three or four changes in any lineup, and then when teams don't make the playoffs there's always going to be a lot more scrutiny put on the personnel that is here."
However, there is still some confidence about the current makeup of the team.
"I don't think we need a savior, we can do it on our own," defenseman Carl Gunnarsson
said. "It's just a matter of turning it around and getting our minds into it, and I think if everyone believes it, we can do it.''