Flyers-Leafs preview: Philly trying to contain high-powered Toronto
Back home after a 1-4 road trip, the Philadelphia Flyers will try to regain their mojo Saturday night against the high-powered Toronto Maple Leafs.
Philly is 4-0-1 in its last five home games, but it will be hard-pressed to match the Maple Leafs’ explosiveness.
Toronto is No. 1 in the NHL on the power play (30% success rate) and on faceoffs (55.3%); the Leafs are No. 3 in goals per game (3.73).
By comparison, the Flyers are last in the NHL — 32nd – on the power play (13.4%) and sixth in faceoffs (52.5%), though that number is dropping since Claude Giroux was traded. They are 30th in goals scored (2.57 per game).
Led by Auston Matthews’ 50 goals, the Leafs have five players with 20 or more tallies. Cam Atkinson (23) is the lone Flyer who has reached the 20-goal mark.
Defenseman Ronnie Attard will be making his NHL debut for the Flyers. The former Western Michigan standout signed a two-year, entry-level deal Tuesday.
Toronto will be attempting to win its fourth straight. The Leafs have averaged six goals a game in their last three victories, defeating Florida, Boston, and Winnipeg.
Flyers’ projected lineup
Line 1: Joel Farabee centering Noah Cates and Cam Atkinson.
Line 2: Kevin Hayes centering Oskar Lindblom and Hayden Hodgson. (Travis Konecny is ill.)
Line 3: Morgan Frost centering James van Riemsdyk and Owen Tippett.
Line 4: Patrick Brown centering Nate Thompson and Zack MacEwen. Thompson will play his first game since suffering a shoulder injury Nov. 26.
Defense: Ivan Provorov and Cam York; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen, Nick Seeler and Attard. Keith Yandle’s record ironman streak will end tonight at 989 straight games.
Goalie: Carter Hart.
This is the second of three meetings between the teams — and their first matchup since Toronto’s 3-0 win Nov. 10 at the Wells Fargo Center. In that game, Jack Campbell made 36 saves, William Nylander scored a pair of goals, and Matthews had two assists.
Toronto’s sizzling Mitch Marner, who was once van Riemsdyk’s linemate with the Leafs, has an eight-game point streak, during which he has 17 points (5-12).
For the Philadelphia Flyers, Farabee has seven points, including three goals, over his last six games.
Projected goalie matchup
Hart (3.04 GAA, .909 save percentage) will face Campbell (2.65, .914), who hasn’t played since March 8 because of a rib injury.
How to watch
NBC Spots Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
How to bet
Money line (FanDuel)
Maple Leafs: minus-300.
Leafs 5, Flyers 3.
Prediction record: 25-8.