Leafs, Flyers both aim to get back on track
TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers will try to get back on the winning track Friday when they meet at the Air Canada Centre.
The Flyers (6-6-2) lost two in a row while the Maple Leafs (5-5-3) had a three-game winning streak interrupted Tuesday by a 7-0 collapse against the Los Angeles Kings.
After losing 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday in a shootout, Brayden Schenn will return to the top line as a left winger Friday after playing three games as third-line center.
“It doesn't change what I try to do on the ice,” Schenn said Thursday after the team's practice. “It is what it is. They're looking for balance, looking for chemistry. I'm the guy that's kind of been tossed around a little bit all over the place so far, but it doesn't bother me.”
By returning to the first line, he will be reunited with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. “Hopefully we get 'er going early on and stay together for a period of time,” Schenn said.
The 25-year-old has nine points (including seven assists) in 11 games after being suspended for the first three games of the season.
Ideally, Schenn would be stay on one line for an extended period.
“I really wanted to look at him up the middle,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Schenn's third-line stint. “He was there for three games, and the first two games I thought he did a good job and our team played well. It wasn't a great performance (Tuesday) for (Schenn), but certainly it wasn't a great performance by our team in terms of our overall play and energy.”
Schenn, Giroux and Simmonds were a good line late last season.
“They have some pretty good chemistry, and, yeah, in a perfect world, I'd like to see that group stay together and rebuild the chemistry,” Hakstol said.
The coach said that goaltender Steve Mason will make his second consecutive start Friday.
And Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said on Thursday after his team's practice that Frederik Andersen would be back in goal Friday despite being removed from the game Tuesday in the second period after allowing four goals on 26 shots.
Babcock said his team is allowing too many shots on goal — more than 40 against in three of the past four games.
“We've got to play better without the puck,” Babcock said. “We've got to be better in the faceoff circle. I really thought last game in particular there was no reason for us to give up what we did. It wasn't that type of game, we didn't have to do that. We got away from what we're doing.
“Sometimes it's nice when your goalie is able to steal you a game and we appreciate the fact but we don't want to play like that. As much as we've generated lots of O-zone opportunities and time and shots ourselves, the numbers verify that, we've given up too much. All you have to do is look at goals against (48). That's why we work on it every day and will continue to work on it.”