(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try for their longest winning
streak since early 2012 when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in Monday's
battle at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto is coming off three straight victories and will take aim at its first
four-game winning streak since Jan. 3-10 of last season.
However, the Maple Leafs have had little success in recent years against
Philadelphia, losing five straight and nine of 10 in this series. The Flyers
have also won their last five games in Toronto.
Monday's test also marks Philadelphia defenseman Luke Schenn's return to
Toronto after he was traded to the Flyers last summer for forward James van
Riemsdyk. Both players are 23 years old and former top-five draft picks.
"When the schedule came out, this was the first game I looked for," said
Schenn, who played in 310 games in four years with Toronto, on Philadelphia's
website. "It's something you look forward to ... I think both teams have
obviously moved on and they're both having success too and we are starting to
too. There is no question that I look forward to going back there."
Early returns suggest the Maple Leafs got the better of the trade with van
Riemsdyk recording seven goals and two assists over his first 12 games in
Toronto, while Schenn has one goal and one assist with a plus-3 rating.
However, the stay-at-home defenseman has filled a need for the Flyers and
Schenn is currently fourth on Philadelphia in ice time.
"I wouldn't say (I check his stats) every night ... but he plays in Toronto so
you're going to see it, whether you check or not," Schenn told the Flyers'
official website. "It looks like he is having a lot of success and I know him
a little bit and obviously wish him the best. He's getting a few goals and
that's good to see."
Toronto played Saturday in Montreal and was able to rout the rival Canadiens
by a 6-0 score. James Reimer made 37 saves for his seventh career shutout and
the Leafs used a well-balanced offensive attack en route to the easy win at
the Bell Centre.
Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs, who have won three
in a row for the first time since Feb. 1-6 of last season. Van Riemsdyk and
Dion Phaneuf each added a goal and an assist, while Leo Komarov, Tyler Bozak
and Korbinian Holzer also lit the lamp.
Kessel has two goals and four assists over his last three games after
recording no goals and four helpers in his first nine outings.
"You guys have been asking me about it for a while, but he's a special
player," Phaneuf said of Kessel. "He's scored a lot of goals for a while,
consistently. Sometimes they don't go in, but now that they're going in he's a
guy who can get hot, so it's nice to see him get another one tonight."
Toronto improved to 2-0 against the Canadiens this season. The Leafs also won
at Montreal by a 2-1 score on Jan. 19.
The Maple Leafs will aim for just their second home win of the season on
Monday after going 1-4-0 at ACC to begin the campaign. Toronto has lost its
last two test as the hosts since beating Washington on Jan. 31.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is 1-5-0 on the road this season and is kicking off a
six-game trek on Monday. The Flyers have dropped their last three as the guest
since notching a 7-1 rout at Florida on Jan. 26.
Danny Briere helped the Flyers pick up two points on Saturday, as he scored at
the 1:47 mark of overtime to give Philly a 4-3 win over the Carolina
Hurricanes. It was the second goal in eight games this season for Briere.
On the winning play, Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossman sent a lead pass down
the left wing and Briere took it into the Carolina zone. He cut to the front
of the net and snapped a shot that hit off the left post, then went off the
back of Carolina goaltender Cam Ward before trickling in.
"Yeah when I cut to the middle like I did at first, my plan was to drop it,"
said Briere. "I realized that their defenseman was up and the second
defenseman and forward were back checking, lunging to go towards Kurtis
(Foster) as well, so I decided to keep the puck and there was a little opening
in the slot to shoot it in."
Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek posted a goal and an assist while Matt Read
also scored for the Flyers, who went 3-0-1 on a four-game homestand. Ilya
Bryzgalov gave up three goals on 33 shots in the win.
Bryzgalov has started 11 of Philadelphia's 12 games so far, but he could get a
break in one of the next two contests since the Flyers are set to visit
Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Brian Boucher would be the man spelling Bryzgalov were he to receive a break
since regular backup Michael Leighton is out with an upper-body injury.
Boucher was recalled Sunday from the Flyers' AHL affiliate in Adirondack to
take the roster spot of Leighton, whose only start this year came on Jan. 27.
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