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Surging Leafs head to Philadelphia

by Brian Compton
MAPLE LEAFS (28-27-9) at FLYERS (40-16-6)


Last 10 -- Toronto 5-1-4; Philadelphia 6-3-1.

Season series -- This is the third of four meetings between the teams. Philadelphia won each of the previous two matchups and outscored Toronto 9-3 along the way. The clubs will close out their season series next Thursday at the Air Canada Centre.

Big Story: Despite moving key parts such as Tomas Kaberle, Francois Beauchemin and Kris Versteeg, the Maple Leafs are right in the mix in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With Wednesday's 3-2 overtime win against Pittsburgh, the Leafs moved within four points of No. 8 Carolina.

"Right now we're worried about our own business,'' Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "We're not looking at the (out-of-town) scoreboard, praying and hoping for help.'' 

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs -- Toronto entered Wednesday's action with a record of 2-24-3 when trailing after two periods, but the Leafs found a way and eventually earned two big points in the standings when Mikhail Grabovski beat Marc-Andre Fleury just 42 seconds into overtime at the Air Canada Centre.

Toronto is now 9-2-4 since the All-Star break.

"It's good for our confidence," coach Ron Wilson said. "We were a little tentative, a little tight for most of the game. We found a way to hang in there."

Flyers -- Philadelphia has been in "win one, lose one" mode for the past couple of weeks -- a trend it hopes to put a stop to beginning Thursday night. The Flyers will also attempt to avoid back-to-back losses after they suffered a 4-1 loss at Ottawa last Saturday.

"In the first period we dominated the game and we skated and were playing together," Flyers forward Claude Giroux said. "There was no issue for the first period, then we just stopped playing and it cost us two points."

Who's hot -- Leafs forward Phil Kessel had another two-point game Wednesday. It was his third in four games and he now has a five-game point-scoring streak, with 10 points in that span. 

Injury report -- Philadelphia will be without Oskars Bartulis (shoulder) and Ian Laperriere (post-concussion syndrome). … Toronto is missing Colton Orr (head).

Stat pack -- The Flyers' 4-1 loss in Ottawa was the first time they've lost by more than one goal since game since Feb. 1 against the Lightning, a span of 10 games. They are now 28-4-3 when scoring the first goal of a game.

Puck drop -- "There's no room for a bad week and that puts a lot of pressure on our team. We'll find out what we're made of.'' -- Toronto forward Clarke MacArthur

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