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Couturier-less Flyers buckle up for redo at Wells Fargo Center after last week’s loss to Leafs

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers return to Wells Fargo Center tonight for a rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Last Thursday, the Flyers were pummeled by the Leafs in a 6-2 defeat. On Saturday night, the Flyers dropped another tough loss, 6-5 to the Bruins, who have not lost to the Flyers in regulation in their barn since 2011.

In their last 10 games, the Flyers are 4-5-1 while Toronto is 6-3-1. Toronto has beaten Philadelphia in their last two matchups, winning 4-3 in overtime in February, and most recently the 6-2 beating in South Philly last week. Tonight will be the last time these two teams play against each other this season.

Flyers Look Better Amid Tough Loss

The Flyers are 1-3-0 in their last 4 games, but their most recent loss was the most promising. It sounds silly to say, but it’s true. They scored 5 goals, they kept themselves in the game, but came up short.

Some pointed out the goals that Felix Sandström allowed late in the third period, others pointed out the forwards and defensemen breaking down to allow multiple goals. The combination of poor goaltending and positionally unsound hockey did them in. However, tonight it’s Samuel Ersson’s net. We can expect better goaltending.

With key guys returning to form offensively like Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, and Owen Tippett, the worry for me isn’t about the goals scored, it’s the goals against. Anytime you get beat real bad by a group, you keep that in mind the next time you play them, to prove it was a mistake.

Setting the Tone at 5v5

Funny enough, the Flyers beat the Maple Leafs in the special teams department last week. The Flyers’ penalty kill went 4/4, and their power play (32nd ranked in NHL) went 1/3. It was really a poor start and finish that kept the Flyers from staying in the game. They gave up a goal about two minutes into the game, and it was ugly. The Flyers were coasting, Marc Staal got burnt, and Ryan Poehling, who was there to cover Staal, paid no attention to the player behind him, who potted an easy tap-in goal. The second goal was a result of a bad bounce where Frost was positioned well, but the puck bounced off him back onto a Leaf, 2-0 Toronto. The third goal was an absurd deflection goal that you’ll never see again, so we can give a pass on those.

And then the Flyers controlled play in the second period, and scored a goal cutting the lead to 3-1. However, this didn’t matter in the end because the Flyers were unable to leverage any momentum that period or goal created, and allowed another 3 goals. Auston Matthews scored on a breakaway due to a breakdown in the neutral zone, where Travis Sanheim glided away from the right side due to puck watching, 4-1 Toronto.

On the fifth goal, the forwards get too antsy and over stretch, Frost gets lost trying to recover a puck and loses track of the middle of the ice, leaving William Nylander wide open, who snipes one without contention. It’s hard to explain their 6th goal, there was a cluster in front of the net at the end of Toronto’s power play and three Flyers ended up without sticks, creating another easy tap in goal.

Tonight, the Flyers look to avenge themselves.

PHI Record: 34-26-8, 76 pts, 3rd in Metropolitan

TOR Record: 38-19-9, 85 pts, 3rd in Atlantic

When: 7:00pm ET

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Broadcast Info: NBC Sports Philadelphia, 97.5 The Fanatic

Last Game PHI: 3/16/24, 6-5 L at Boston

Last Game TOR: 3/16/24, 5-4 SOL vs. Carolina

PHI Goalie: Samuel Ersson (19-14-5, .898 SV%, 2.67 GAA, 3 SO)

TOR Goalie: Ilya Samsonov (18-5-7, .889 SV%, 3.09 GAA, 2 SO)

PHI Projected Lineup

#74 Owen Tippett – #48 Morgan Frost – #11 Travis Konecny

#86 Joel Farabee – #21 Scott Laughton – #10 Bobby Brink

#71 Tyson Foerster – #25 Ryan Poehling – #19 Garnet Hathaway

#44 Nicolas Deslauriers – #27 Noah Cates – #62 Olle Lycksell

#8 Cam York – #6 Travis Sanheim

#50 Adam Ginning – #23 Ronnie Attard

#5 Egor Zamula – #77 Erik Johnson

#33 Samuel Ersson

#32 Felix Sandström

Scratches: #10 Bobby Brink, #14 Sean Couturier, #15 Denis Gurianov, #89 Cam Atkinson 

Injuries: #9 Jamie Drysdale, #24 Nick Seeler, #55 Rasmus Ristolainen

TOR Projected Lineup

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #34 Auston Matthews – #29 Pontus Holmberg

#74 Bobby McMann – #11 Max Domi – #88 William Nylander

#23 Matthew Knies – #91 John Tavares – #89 Nick Robertson 

#24 Connor Dewar – #64 David Kämpf – #75 Ryan Reaves

#44 Morgan Rielly – #78 T.J. Brodie

#2 Simon Benoit – #22 Jake McCabe

#20 Joel Edmundson – #37 Timothy Liljegren

#35 Ilya Samsonov

#60 Joseph Woll

Scratches: #18 Noah Gregor, #25 Conor Timmins, #31 Martin Jones

Injuries: #16 Mitch Marner, #19 Calle Järnkrok, #46 Ilya Lyubushkin, #55 Mark Giordano

News and Notes

– The Maple Leafs have won the last eight meetings against the Flyers. Philadelphia has not beaten Toronto since December 3rd, 2019.

Sean Couturier will be a healthy scratch this evening. “I’ve been putting the work in for a while,” said the Flyers captain after morning skate. “I’ve been struggling, but I’ve been working on my game, and it’s frustrating the way I’ve been treated around here lately. But it is what it is.”

– The Flyers are 100-66-22-6 all-time against the Maple Leafs since joining the league in 1967. 1967 is also the last time the Maple Leafs won a Stanley Cup.

– Philadelphia is 58-29-8-2 against Toronto at home all-time and 25-18-0-2 against them at Wells Fargo Center since it opened in 1996.

Travis Konecny leads all active Flyers in goals (6, tied with Cam Atkinson) and points (20) against the Maple Leafs, while Marc Staal leads in assists (15) against them.

Union Forge Vodka proudly serves as the Official Vodka of Flyers Nation. This partnership celebrates the unyielding spirit of Flyers fans and offers a quality spirit that perfectly compliments the team’s essence. Whether celebrating victories or showing resilience, Union Forge Vodka embodies the winning spirit of both the Flyers and their dedicated fans. Stay connected with exciting giveaways by following @unionforge and @flyersnation across all social media and platforms.

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