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Flyers visit Maple Leafs chasing fourth straight win

by Adam Kimelman /

FLYERS (16-17-3) at MAPLE LEAFS (20-12-4)


Last 10: Philadelphia 5-3-2; Toronto 5-2-3

Season series: This is the third and final meeting of the season between the teams. The Leafs won their first two games, most recently 4-2 in Philadelphia on Feb. 25.

Big story: Can the Flyers continue their strong recent play and surge into contention for a playoff spot? Or will the Maple Leafs, now past the turmoil of the trade deadline, continue to solidify their postseason spot?

Team Scope:

Flyers: The Flyers certainly felt good after winning their season-best third straight game, a come-from-behind 5-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

However, they know they have to win a lot more than three games if they want to climb into the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

"It's a good sign [but] it doesn't matter how many games you win in a row," forward Simon Gagne said. "Every game from now on is going to be really big for us. … It doesn't matter if you win one in a row, two in a row, three in a row -- every game from now on is going to be big for us."

Maple Leafs: While most of the headlines Wednesday surrounded the Maple Leafs' purported chase for a goaltender, general manager Dave Nonis added a piece he felt was just as important -- stay-at-home defenseman Ryan O'Byrne from the Colorado Avalanche.

The 6-foot-5, 234-pound O'Byrne has just four points in 34 games, but was second on the Avalanche with 76 hits and fourth with 49 blocked shots.

"He's a defensive defenseman," Nonis told the Toronto Star. "We feel he can play with good players. He can play with John-Michael Liles, with a Jake Gardiner, a Mike Kostka. Those are the most likely pairings."

Who's hot: Flyers captain Claude Giroux has three goals and seven assists in the past seven games. … The last time Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri was on the ice, he had his first NHL hat trick, plus an assist, in Toronto's 4-0 win at the Ottawa Senators on March 30.

Injury report: The Flyers will be missing forwards Danny Briere (concussion), Maxime Talbot (leg) and Jody Shelley (hip), and defensemen Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder). Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (upper-body) and forward Zac Rinaldo (lower-body) are questionable.

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