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Flyers seek 'killer instinct' against Maple Leafs

Philadelphia has lost two straight in pursuit of playoff berth

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

MAPLE LEAFS (28-41-11) at FLYERS (39-27-13) 

TV: 7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, SNO, NHL.TV

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers look to end a two-game losing streak and move one step closer to gaining a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

The Flyers, who lost 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, have 91 points, the same amount as the Boston Bruins, but hold the second wild card in the Eastern Conference because they've played one fewer game than the Bruins. The Bruins play the Red Wings at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-D, NESNplus, NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he wasn't going to spend much time worrying about what other teams were doing. 

"We're one of eight teams above the line," he said. "We win tonight we wake up tomorrow morning above the line. That's all I care about."  

Goaltender Steve Mason is expected to make his 11th straight start. He's allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his previous 10 starts, and has a 2.16 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in that stretch.

His backup remains a question. Anthony Stolarz, who had been Mason's backup the previous nine games since being recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on March 20, was reassigned to the AHL on Thursday.

Michal Neuvirth, Mason's regular backup, last played March 16 against the Chicago Blackhawks because of a lower-body injury. He was expected to miss three weeks, and Wednesday marked three weeks since his last game.

The Flyers also have Ray Emery, who signed a contract April 1. 

Hakstol wouldn't comment on his lineup, including any potential changes to a group that will play the second game of four in five days to close the regular season. 

"I don't think so," Hakstol said when asked if he felt his team looked tired. "No more so than any of the other teams around the League. ... I don't think fatigue is a factor for us any more than it would be for anyone else."

The Maple Leafs have lost four straight (0-4-0), including a 5-1 defeat against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

Coach Mike Babcock said the only lineup change would be Jonathan Bernier starting in goal. Garret Sparks made 27 saves in the loss to the Blue Jackets. 

Here are the projected lineups:


Tobias Lindberg - Tyler Bozak - Kasperi Kapanen

Colin Greening - William Nylander - PA Parenteau

Sam Carrick - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Brooks Laich - Frederik Gauthier - Michael Grabner

Morgan Rielly - Martin Marincin

Jake Gardiner - Frank Corrado

Andrew Campbell - TJ Brennan

Jonathan Bernier

Garret Sparks

Injured: Leo Komarov (lower body), Peter Holland (upper body)m Nikita Soshnikov (upper body), Matt Hunwick (sports hernia), James van Riemsdyk (foot), Joffrey Lupul (sports hernia), Stephane Robidas (knee), Viktor Loov (upper body), Milan Michalek (knee)

Scratched: None

Suspended: Nazem Kadri


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Nick Cousins - Sam Gagner

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Injured: Michal Neuvirth (lower body), Michael Del Zotto (wrist)

Scratched: Scott Laughton, R.J. Umberger, Jordan Weal, Evgeny Medvedev

Status report: Neither team held a morning skate Thursday. ... Komarov, who has missed 11 games, is with the team for the final road trip of the season, which includes a game Saturday at the New Jersey Devils. "Ideally if we can get him in a game we'll get him in a game," Babcock said Wednesday. ... If the Flyers make a change to their forward group it could be Scott Laughton entering the lineup. He's been a healthy scratch the past seven games. "Intensity, energy, speed, pace," Hakstol said. "Those are the things that when he's on his game he brings." Laughton, 21, has played center and left wing during parts of three seasons with the Flyers. 

Who's hot: Rielly has one goal and two assists during a three-game point streak. ... Simmonds has four goals in his past five games. 

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