Maple Leafs-Flyers Preview

Ilya Bryzgalov has been real good at home lately, as long as his

Philadelphia Flyers don’t end up in a shootout.

James Reimer had been mostly awful in road games until his most

recent one.

Bryzgalov could square off against Reimer and the Toronto Maple

Leafs in Philadelphia on Thursday night in a matchup of goaltenders

who had briefly lost their No. 1 jobs but have played well

lately.

While the Flyers (30-16-7) look to halt a season-high three-game

losing streak, the Maple Leafs (28-20-6) try to bounce back from

their first regulation loss in seven games.

Toronto won in Philadelphia in the teams’ only meeting of the

season, 4-2 on Oct. 24, but backups Jonas Gustavsson and Sergei

Bobrovsky were in net.

Bryzgalov has beaten the Maple Leafs all three times he’s faced

them, stopping 62 of 64 shots, and he’s 4-0-3 in eight home games

since the calendar flipped to 2012. All three defeats came in

shootouts, with Bryzgalov stopping just two of the opponents’ seven

shots. He’s turned aside all but two of the 77 shots he’s faced in

regulation and overtime of his last four home games.

The offseason acquisition posted his first shutout since Oct. 8

and first at home in a Flyers uniform Tuesday, but he let the New

York Islanders score on both of their shootout attempts in a 1-0

defeat.

“He played well, made the saves that he had to and we put a lot

of shots in front of him,” Claude Giroux told the Flyers’ official

website. “He likes to get his room and he challenged a lot of

shots. I think we got to do a better job of screening more.”

A struggling Bryzgalov was splitting time with Bobrovsky for a

month-long stretch that went into late January – even getting

benched for the Winter Classic – but has reclaimed the No. 1 job

with a 1.69 goals-against average over his last eight games.

Reimer lost Toronto’s No. 1 job last month – he had only one

start in January – after losing seven of 11 games in December while

posting a 3.23 GAA. However, he started the team’s first three

games this month and won them all, including two shutouts.

He had gone 1-4-1 with a 4.02 GAA in eight road starts before

making 49 saves in a 5-0 win at Ottawa on Saturday.

Reimer was given the night off Tuesday as Toronto lost 2-1 at

Winnipeg despite Phil Kessel’s 30th goal. Kessel has four goals and

three assists over the last three games.

The Maple Leafs had been 5-0-1 in their previous six before

losing Tuesday.

“It was disappointing. I felt like we had the chances and we

controlled most of the play,” Reimer said. “We just couldn’t find

any good scoring chances in tight.”

While Reimer has allowed five goals in splitting two career

starts versus the Flyers, Gustavsson lost his two career starts

against them while giving up 10 goals.

Toronto has not allowed a power-play goal in any of its

opponents’ 24 chances in 2012.

The Flyers had scored on the power play in seven consecutive

games until getting shut out Tuesday for the first time since

mid-December. However, they finished with 45 shots and didn’t come

away discouraged.

“It’s disappointing but at least we’re playing the right way,”

said Danny Briere, who returned after missing six games with a

concussion. “… You just gotta keep your heads up.”