Flyers-Maple Leafs Preview
Following a slow start, the Philadelphia Flyers got a much-needed boost from a successful homestand. Their next challenge is keeping that momentum going on their longest road trip of the season.
In the opener of a six-game trek, the Flyers will try to add to the streaking Toronto Maple Leafs' home woes and continue their dominance in the series Monday night.
Philadelphia (5-6-1) went 3-0-1 on its homestand and bounced back from a shootout loss to Florida on Thursday with a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina two days later. Danny Briere netted the winner, only his second goal of 2013, and Brayden Schenn had his first three-point game during the regular season.
The Flyers have managed just 13 goals during a 1-5-0 start on the road - seven of those coming in a rout of Florida on Jan. 26.
"It was good to get back on track and we'll enjoy it for a little bit, but there's a huge road trip coming up," defenseman Luke Schenn said. "We have to be a lot better on the road and we know it."
A visit to Toronto would seem like a good place to start for Philadelphia as it's won five in a row there. The Flyers have also taken five straight overall in the series and are 9-1-0 in their last 10 against the Maple Leafs (7-5-0), though they'll face a team that just swept a three-game trip.
Toronto outscored opponents 12-4 in those contests and capped the stretch with a 6-0 victory over Montreal on Saturday. After ending a 10-game goal drought Thursday, Leafs forward Phil Kessel found the net again and added two assists in a game marred by 116 penalty minutes.
Kessel had six points on the trip after recording four in his first nine games, and the next task for him is to help the Leafs improve on a 1-4-0 home record. Toronto has been outscored 16-9 in those contests and produced one or fewer goals in three of them.
"Now we've got to get it going at the (Air Canada Centre)," forward Clarke MacArthur said. "It's a place where we've got to get some positive energy. The fans have been great there, and we have to get something going."
Toronto has been outscored 16-4 in its five straight home losses to Philadelphia, falling 7-1 in the most recent March 29.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 29 saves in a 1-0 shootout victory March 10 in the other Flyers visit to Toronto last season. Bryzgalov is 5-0-0 with a 1.21 goals-against average against the Leafs, his lowest GAA versus any opponent.
Briere's 43 points in 40 games versus Toronto (17 goals, 26 assists) are his most against any team.
Monday's game will feature Luke Schenn's return to Toronto and Philadelphia's reunion with forward James van Riemsdyk, taken No. 2 overall by the Flyers in the 2007 draft.
Schenn was the No. 5 overall pick by the Leafs in 2008 and played four seasons with the team before being traded for van Riemsdyk on June 23. Van Riemsdyk had 47 goals and 52 assists in three seasons with Philadelphia.
Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds made his return from a concussion Saturday.