Preview: Philadelphia at Toronto
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
The Philadelphia Flyers continue their quest for a postseason berth – as well as their season high-tying five-game road trip – when they visit the basement-dwelling Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Philadelphia suffered a shootout loss at Montreal on Friday to fall to 1-1-1 on its trek but earned a point to climb within five of Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Shayne Gostisbehere notched an assist for the Flyers in a losing cause to run his NHL-record point streak for a rookie defenseman to 14 games, which also is the longest run by any league blue-liner since Brian Leetch’s 14-gamer from Oct.30-Dec. 1, 1996. Toronto ranks last in the league with 49 points, one behind Edmonton and six in back of Buffalo in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs have lost five of their last six contests, including the opener of their four-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Thursday. Toronto took the opener of the three-game season series at Philadelphia on Jan. 19, when defenseman Matt Hunwick snapped a 2-2 tie with eight seconds remaining in the third period.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN Philadelphia, CBC (Toronto)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (25-21-11): Captain Claude Giroux is on the verge of a milestone as his next point will be the 500th of his NHL career. It also will be the team-leading 50th of 2015-16 for the 28-year-old, who reached that plateau each of the previous two campaigns and four times in his first seven full seasons. Brayden Schenn has scored three goals in his last five games and needs three more to match his career high of 20 set in 2013-14.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (20-27-9): Things got even worse for Toronto on Friday as leading scorer Leo Komarov received a three-game suspension from the league for elbowing Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh in the head. The 29-year-old Komarov tops the Maple Leafs in goals (18) and points (35). Toronto went 0-for-5 on the power play Thursday and rank last in the NHL at 14.4 percent.
1. Gostisbehere has collected four goals and 13 assists during his point streak.
2. Toronto RW PA Parenteau has reached the 15-goal plateau for the fourth time in his career and first since scoring 18 with Colorado in 2012-13.
3. Philadelphia’s Steve Mason likely will be in net as fellow G Michal Neuvirth has started two straight contests and three of four since returning from a lower-body injury.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 3, Flyers 2