Maple Leafs-Flyers Preview

The Philadelphia Flyers have made a habit of falling behind

early, though it hasn’t cost them too much lately.

They’ll again look to ditch their slow starts Monday night when

they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Flyers (9-10-1) own one of the league’s better offenses with

2.9 goals per game but have often neutralized their scoring with

mediocre defense and goaltending, allowing 3.1 goals. They’ve hurt

themselves particularly at the beginning of games by trailing in

the first period five times in their last six contests, but have

still managed to win three of the last four.

It happened again Saturday against Winnipeg as Philadelphia fell

into a 1-0 deficit less than five minutes in. Despite tying the

game at 1, the Flyers fell in another hole in the second, this time

3-1. They then scored four unanswered goals over the game’s final

25:36 for a 5-3 victory.

“I think we talk about our starts all the time, we were on our

heels, afraid to make mistakes,” Danny Briere told the team’s

official website. “All the sudden it’s like, we’re in the hole

already, and we’re down 1-0, let’s see what we can do. I think

that’s what happened here.”

Braydon Schenn had a goal and an assist and Briere recorded an

assist in his fourth straight game. Philadelphia also received a

boost from the return of left wing Scott Hartnell, who missed the

previous 16 games with a broken foot. Hartnell, who was second on

team last season in points (67) and penalty minutes (136), fired

five shots in 14:54 of ice time.

“I was pretty excited to have the big guy back in the lineup,”

said captain Claude Giroux, who had his sixth goal and 12th assist

of the season. “He brings a lot to this team. He plays with a lot

of heart.”

The Maple Leafs (11-8-0) are 7-4-0 on the road but have lost

three of their last four away from Toronto, including Saturday’s

3-2 setback to Ottawa.

Toronto gave up the game-winning goal with 24 seconds left and

sloppiness on offense continues to be a major issue. It had 10

giveaways against the Senators, which is right at its average of

9.4 per game – one of the worst marks in the league.

“We knew that coming in,” center Jay McClement said. “We just

turned too many pucks over. That’s what happens when we get away

from our game. When we have success, we don’t do that. We get the

puck deep, we have more zone time and we get more chances.”

Despite the loss, goaltender Ben Scrivens continues to play well

in place of the injured James Reimer, who remains out indefinitely

with a left MCL strain. Scrivens is 3-3-0 with a 1.92 goals-against

average with two shutouts in making six straight starts since

Reimer was injured in the second period of a 5-2 victory over the

Flyers on Feb. 11.

Colton Orr, Matt Frattin and Clarke MacArthur all had

second-period goals and Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled

after surrendering four goals on 14 shots.

That marked Toronto’s second win in the last 11 meetings.