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Maple Leafs' Clarkson could miss game against Flyers

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs may be without forward David Clarkson when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Clarkson left the optional morning skate early with a pulled muscle and is questionable to play Saturday, according to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.

"We have the ability to recall people, we have the ability to go with 11 [forwards] and seven [defensemen]," Carlyle said about what he might do if Clarkson can't play. "So there are some options. It's always tough when you're missing quality players, and nobody wants to do that. But in the situation, if the player is not deemed healthy by our medical staff and himself, then we have no other choice than to make decisions."

Clarkson has been playing on the third line with Peter Holland and Mason Raymond. If he can't play, Troy Bodie will slide into his spot on the right side and the Maple Leafs will play with 11 forwards with Paul Ranger drawing in as the seventh defenseman.

James Reimer was the only goalie on the ice during the morning skate, meaning Jonathan Bernier likely gets the start against Philadelphia.

The Flyers head into the game on a three-game win streak, and a big part of that has been captain Claude Giroux, who has four goals and seven points during it. Those four goals came in the past two games against the Washington Capitals and have the Flyers in a Stanley Cup Playoff position.

"He's, I want to say a guy that's a born leader, but his personality's infectious. You can see that he wears his heart on his sleeve, he competes every day in practice and every game no matter if we're up or down," linemate Scott Hartnell said. "You look for qualities you want in a leader, and [Giroux] has them all."

Giroux had a rough start to the season and didn't score his first goal until his 16th game. Now with 23 goals, he's on pace to break his career-high of 28. The Flyers are 17-2-1 when Giroux scores a goal.

"I think when your best player's producing, you have a better chance of winning, obviously," Hartnell said. "It's nice to see. I think we all struggled the first 10 games or so of the year. It was just a matter of time before he started producing and his linemates started producing and getting points."

Steve Mason was the first goalie off at morning skate and will likely get the start.

Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Maple Leafs:


Scott HartnellClaude GirouxJakub Voracek

Vincent LecavalierBrayden SchennWayne Simmonds

Steve DownieSean CouturierMatt Read

Zac RinaldoAdam HallMichael Raffl

Braydon CoburnKimmo Timonen

Mark StreitNicklas Grossmann

Andrew MacDonaldLuke Schenn

Steve Mason

Cal Heeter

Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson

Injured: Ray Emery (lower body)


James van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

Joffrey LupulNazem KadriNikolai Kulemin

Mason RaymondPeter HollandTroy Bodie

Carter AshtonJay McClement

Dion PhaneufCarl Gunnarsson

Jake GardinerCody Franson

Morgan RiellyTim Gleason

Paul Ranger

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: David Clarkson (muscle pull), Colton Orr (undisclosed)

Injured: Dave Bolland (cut tendon)

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