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Flyers open lengthy road trip against Maple Leafs

by Brian Hunter

FLYERS (5-6-1) at MAPLE LEAFS (7-5-0)


Last 10: Philadelphia 5-4-1; Toronto 6-4-0

Season series: First of three meetings. Philadelphia swept four games from Toronto last season, including a 7-1 rout in the most recent matchup on March 29, 2012. Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds each scored twice in the victory.

Big story: Two teams that had plenty of scrutiny placed on their goaltenders coming into the season have to like the results they've been seeing. The Flyers have been getting the good Ilya Bryzgalov so far, with a stellar 2.27 goals-against average and .921 save percentage, while James Reimer comes off a shutout for the Maple Leafs on Saturday and posts a 2.30 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Team Scope:

Flyers: This is the start of an important six-game road trip for Philadelphia, which dug itself an early hole in the standings with an 0-3 start but has rebounded and is currently enjoying a 3-0-1 stretch. In a Saturday matinee against the Hurricanes, the teams battled back and forth through regulation before Danny Briere cut through the slot and beat Cam Ward at 1:47 of overtime to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory. Bryzgalov was sound, making 30 saves.

"We wanted to take control of these four home games and I think we did well," said Matt Read, who along with Schenn and Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers in regulation. "We lost one point against Florida the other night [in a shootout loss] which I think shouldn't happen, but to take seven of eight, you can't complain and you move forward from here."

Maple Leafs: Most of the buzz around Ontario over the season's first couple weeks was the resurgence taking place in Montreal, but it can no longer be ignored that Toronto is bidding to end the NHL's longest current playoff drought. The Maple Leafs smoked the Canadiens 6-0 at Bell Centre as part of Hockey Day In Canada on Saturday. Reimer turned aside all 37 shots he faced, while Phil Kessel broke out offensively with a goal and two assists.

"You guys have been asking me about it for a while, but he's a special player," captain Dion Phaneuf said of Kessel. "He's scored a lot of goals for a while, consistently. Sometimes they don't go in, but now that they're going in he's a guy who can get hot, so it's nice to see him get another one tonight."

Who's hot: Voracek has two goals and three assists during a four-game points streak for the Flyers. Schenn had a three-point game Saturday, with a pair of assists. Read has goals in two straight games. … Kessel has two goals and four assists during a three-game points streak for the Maple Leafs. James van Riemsdyk, acquired from Philadelphia last summer, has three goals in as many games and seven for the season. Tyler Bozak has goals in two straight games.

Injury report: Philadelphia has defensemen Matt Walker (lower body), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion) and Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and forward Scott Hartnell (foot) on injured reserve. … Toronto has defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (hip) and forwards Joffrey Lupul (broken forearm) and Mike Brown (upper body) on injured reserve.

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