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Leafs look to continue compiling points vs. Flyers

by Adam Kimelman
FLYERS (41-19-6) at MAPLE LEAFS (29-28-10)


Last 10 --
Philadelphia 4-5-1; Toronto 5-1-4

Season series --
This is the fourth and final time these teams will play this season. The Flyers won the first two games, but the Leafs won the most recent matchup, last week in Philadelphia, when Darryl Boyce scored the game-winning goal with 4:30 left in the third period to give Toronto a 3-2 victory.

Big story -- The Leafs have just one regulation loss in their last 11 games, but can they keep that streak going? This starts a three-game homestand against teams above them in the standings. With just 15 games left in the regular season, they need to keep piling up the points.

For the Flyers, they beat Edmonton on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak, but they were far from happy with the effort. Can they take whatever they gained from beating the Oilers with them to Toronto?

Team Scope:

Flyers -- You wouldn't have known you were in the winning locker room Tuesday after Philadelphia beat the Oilers 4-1. Yes, the Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak, but there wasn't a whole lot of joy that went with the two points.

"I would say (we played) 23, 24 good minutes the way we need to play to be successful," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "We played a team that had a lot of injuries and a lot of youth and we were able to capitalize on some chances early in that first period, got off to a lead. You look at the latter part of the second and probably the last 12, 14 minutes of that third period, it was us sitting back, standing still, turning pucks over, and they came at us wave after wave."

Coach Peter Laviolette pretty much was in agreement with that assessment.

"The 20 minutes of the 23 he's talking about are probably the first period, so for the final 40 minutes he's picking out three good ones," he said. "That's not too far off. He's correct about the turnovers. We lost our speed, turned the puck over, tried to be too cute. We played a different game in the first period, really took control. They changed their game a bit, started to pressure a bit more, so the turnovers happened, but there were a lot of unforced turnovers we don't have to make."
Maple Leafs --
One of the key players in Toronto's hot streak has been Mikhail Grabovski -- or as teammate Colby Armstrong has taken to calling him, "Crosbovski."

"Like a Russian Sidney Crosby," Armstrong told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "He's been a great player for us. He's sick. Every game, the way he plays, he's fearless, relentless."

With 6 points in his last six games, he has 25 goals and 50 points, tying him for the team scoring lead.

"What I like best (about Grabovski) is how serious and committed he is to being a complete player," Leafs general manager Brian Burke told the newspaper. "He spends a great deal of time preparing mentally and is a gym rat. And he's tough and low-maintenance."

Who's hot --
Flyers forward Jeff Carter returned from a battle with the flu to score 2 goals Tuesday against the Oilers, giving him 30 for the third straight season. … Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin has 4 goals and 3 assists in his last eight games.

Injury report --
Other than long-term injuries to forward Ian Laperriere (concussion) and defenseman Oskars Bartulis (shoulder), the Flyers are relatively healthy. … The Leafs' only significant injury is to forward Colton Orr, who hasn't played since Jan. 20 due to a concussion.

Stat pack --
The Flyers held the Oilers to just one shot on goal in the first period of Tuesday's victory. It's the first time Philadelphia has limited a team to that little offense since Dec. 9, 2009, when they held the Montreal Canadiens to one shot in a period.

Puck drop -- Flyers forward Danny Briere was extra happy when he scored in the first period Tuesday against Edmonton. It was his 29th goal of the season, second-most on the team, but his first in nine games.

It was definitely a good feeling," he said. "It had been a while. I couldn't remember the feeling, it felt so long ago. There's no doubt it was a big relief to get that one early in the game."

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