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Maple Leafs-Flyers Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (33-32-6) at Philadelphia Flyers (40-21-10).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

With four straight victories, the Philadelphia Flyers may be playing their best hockey of the season.

The Flyers host a Toronto Maple Leafs club struggling to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.

Philadelphia is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and trails the New York Rangers by two points for the Atlantic Division lead. The Flyers are likely to reach the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season.

"The only way we're going to finish first and catch up to the Rangers is to put a streak together," center Petr Nedved said. "That's what we're doing right now and we're giving ourselves a chance to win. It looks like we're peaking at the right time and hopefully we can finish strong and take it over to the playoffs."

Philadelphia scored four goals in the first 8:33 on Saturday en route to a 6-3 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators. The victory followed a Wednesday win over the Rangers by the same score.

The Flyers had nine different players score goals for them in the two wins, with Jeff Carter, Michal Handzus and Mike Knuble with two each.

Philadelphia has outscored its opponents 18-9 during its four-game winning streak.

Carter has scored five goals in the last six games, after being held without a goal for nine. The rookie center has 19 goals - including five game-winners - and 35 points this season.

The Maple Leafs enter the contest in 11th-place in the conference, seven points behind the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens for the last two playoff spots.

Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 35 saves in his season debut to help the Leafs to a 4-3 win over the Devils on Sunday.

"We all remember that he had a very successful time with Pittsburgh," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "He really saved our bacon at the end."

The Maple Leafs recalled Aubin from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL on March 14. He spent six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and has a 64-72-11 career record with a 2.92 goals-against average.

Quinn will have to decide between using Aubin and Mikael Tellqvist going forward, with starter Ed Belfour out for the rest of the season with a back injury.

Tellqvist struggled in his last two starts - both losses at Montreal - allowing 11 total goals.

Toronto heads into the final 11 games of the season in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997-98.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 72 points, 4th place, 30 PB, Northeast Division. Flyers - 90 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 24 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 51 assists; Bryan McCabe, 63 points and 108 PIM. Bryan McCabe, 108 PIM. Flyers - Simon Gagne, 41 goals; Peter Forsberg, 52 assists and 71 points; Donald Brashear, 134 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.5 percent (90 for 439), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (346 for 436), 25th. Flyers - Power play: 18.2 percent (73 for 401), 11th. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (321 for 408), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Tellqvist (10-10-2, 2 SO, 3.00 GAA); Aubin (1-0-0, 0, 3.00). Flyers - Antero Niittymaki (22-12-6, 2, 2.96); Robert Esche (18-9-4, 1, 3.06).


LAST MEETING: Oct. 22; Flyers, 5-2. At Toronto, Philadelphia had five different scorers and pulled away from the Maple Leafs with three unanswered third-period goals.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 12-20-4 on the road; Flyers - 20-10-6 at home.

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