clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: Maple Leafs @ Flyers

Whoa, we’re half way there.

Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Philadelphia Flyers
07:00 PM at Wells Fargo Center
Watch on: NBCSP, TSN4
(geographic regional broadcast blackout rules in effect)

Opponent’s Site: Broad Street Hockey

The Leafs last game was at home on January 7 against the Detroit Red Wings, which Toronto won by a score of 4-1. The Leafs have a record of 24-9-7 so far.

The Philadelphia Flyers last played at home on January 5 against the Arizona Coyotes. The Flyers won by a score of 6-2, and their current league record is 15-17-7.

Them

It’s been an ugly season for the Flyers so far. I recall in the pre-season when their new coach John Tortorella was asked if the Flyers were good at anything, and his response was simply “No.” And that has turned out to be an accurate analysis.

The Flyers are third last in the Eastern Conference, sitting in front of only the Canadiens, who are not even trying to win as they kick-off a complete retool and rebuild of the entire team, and the Blue Jackets who appear to have badly miscalculated their off-season mega-dollar-contract signing of Johnny Gaudreau.

The Flyers offence is running on fumes, with Travis Konecny notable for the one player with a scoring touch, but his line also appears to not ever heard of the word defence, with its current setup of Noah Cates in the center position having an xGF% per Natural Stat Trick of 37.74%, meaning for every goal they score while on the ice, about two goals are predicted to be scored against them. That line is the glass cannon of the east, while their other lines are often completely out of cannonballs and cannot shot on the net for their lives.

Lines

Last Game: (01/05) via Daily Faceoff

James van Riemsdyk - Morgan Frost - Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee - Noah Cates - Travis Konecny
Kevin Hayes - Scott Laughton - Wade Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers - Patrick Brown - Zack MacEwen

Ivan Provorov - Cam York
Travis Sanheim - Tony DeAngelo
Rasmus Ristolainen - Nick Seeler

Carter Hart
Samuel Ersson

Us

I recognise these Leafs lines... because they are the lines from yesterday’s game, and as far as we know they won’t change anything. This game marks the half-way point of the season for the Leafs (technically when it’s over) and they are coming in off a solid win yesterday. I set Matt Murray as “presumed starter” since Ilya Samsonov started yesterday.

Lines

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
Calle Järnkrok - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Alex Kerfoot - David Kämpf - Pierre Engvall
Zach Aston-Reese - Pontus Holmberg - Dryden Hunt

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Mark Giordano - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren

Matt Murray (presumed starter)
Ilya Samsonov

The Game

Toronto vs Philadelphia

Toronto Stat Philadelphia
Toronto Stat Philadelphia
68.8 - 3rd Points % - Ranking 47.4 - 26th
3.375 - 8th Goals/Game - Ranking 2.769 - 28th
2.625 - 3rd Goals Against/Game - Ranking 3.231 - 19th
24.6 - 8th Power Play% - Ranking 16.7 - 29th
77.9 - 17th Penalty Kill% - Ranking 75.8 - 19th
10.7 - 11th Team Sh% - Ranking 9.5 - 22nd
0.907 - 10th Team Sv% - Ranking 0.898 - 16th
William Nylander - 22 Most Goals (NST) Travis Konecny - 20
Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews - 46 Most Points (NST) Travis Konecny - 40
Michael Bunting - 48 Most PIM (NST) Nicolas Deslauriers - 66
Morgan Rielly - 22.59 TOI Leader (NST) Tony DeAngelo - 24.09

The stats box tells you where the weakness is for the Flyers this season; they sit 28th in the league in goals and their power play is 29th.

All that being said, somehow, they have won their last four games in a row. Anything can happen in this league, and the Leafs have been notorious this season for “playing down” to weaker opponents. We have a very recent example of that with the humiliating loss to the Arizona Coyotes—and note the Flyers played the Coyotes last Wednesday and had an easy victory.

When you combine that with how this is a SEGABABA with travel for the Leafs, while the Flyers have had two days off, it could be a rough game tonight, so grab a glass of wine, put the Power Play Penne in the oven, and get ready for Sunday night hockey.

After this game is over, the Leafs’ officially move to the second half of the regular season. You know there’s only one approved song for this hockey occasion.