Maple Leafs Take On Flyers In Eastern Conference Showdown

February 9th, 2012 13 Comments

There are a handful of teams that the opposition measures it’s success against, without question the Philadelphia Flyers are one of those teams.

As good as the Toronto Maple Leafs have been over their past ten games (6-3-1), Thursday night’s tilt against the Flyers will be used as a measuring stick for the Buds. Should the Maple Leafs lose, it will reinforce what many pundits are thinking—that the Maple Leafs are a good team, but not capable of beating the elite teams, at least not consistently.

The Maple Leafs currently sit seventh overall in the Eastern Conference standings. With the Boston Bruins occupying the second seed in the East that means the Buds would play the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs should the season end today.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the Blue and White’s chances against the Bruins in a seven game series. Sure, when it comes to the playoffs, anything can happen, but you’d be hard-pressed to get anyone to bet their house on the Maple Leafs emerging victorious in a seven game series with the Bruins.

Toronto has demonstrated an inability to compete with the more physical teams in the NHL. With the likes of Scott Hartnell, Jody Shelly, Wayne Simmonds and Maxime Talbot in the Flyers lineup, look for the Maple Leafs to get a steady diet of hits from the Flyers which will test the Blue and White’s moxy.

It will be interesting to see if Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf looks to extract a measure of revenge on Hartnell who was heard yelling “hey Phaneuf, suck it” after Hartnell scored a goal in the All-Star game.

There was not a lot of press about this incident, but something tells me Phaneuf won’t soon forget this incident, whether Phaneuf seeks a little retribution remains to be seen.

The  Maple Leafs met the Flyers earlier this season, losing 4-2 in Philadelphia. Tonight’s tilt will also be in Philadelphia where the Flyers have posted a 12-8-5 record on the season, compared to a 18-8-2 record on the road.

Both Jaromir Jagr and Hartnell had two goals apiece in the Maple Leafs 4-2 loss to the Flyers. It is imperative that the Buds find a way to contain both of these players, as well as star forward Claude Giroux, who is second overall in the scoring race with 60 points on the season.

Every effort was made to shore up the Flyers goaltending this off-season with the Flyers  bringing in veteran goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov via free agency. Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky have been good, but there are still doubts that either one is capable of leading the Orange and Black to a Stanley Cup victory.

Despite Bobovsky getting the nod in the Flyers first meeting with the Maple Leafs this season, look for Bryzgalov to get the nod tonight as he has been very good of late, allowing just one goal or less in five of his past seven starts.

The Maple Leafs will look to get back on track after a tough 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night where the Maple Leafs lacked effort, managing only 18 shots against the Jets.

After sitting out two games in a row in which James Reimer registered back-to-back shutouts, Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson played well against the Jets, but there is every indication that Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson will be inclined to start Reimer tonight.

A win against the Flyers would go a long way in legitimizing the Leafs as a true contender, let’s hope they can pull off the win and silence the critics.

Until next time,

Peace!

13 Comments

  1. Hudson says:

    I have a great feeling about this game. It will be a bounce back game for us, and Philly hasn’t been great lately. Crucial win to close the gap to those above us. Let’s do it boys!!!

    Will will likely get outhit, but with the Leafs knowing they have to counter that, Phaneuf is going to dish a monster tonight. Schenn is gonna lay someone out too.

    My pre-game prognostics:
    - Lupul is going to have a big 3 pt night.
    - Grabo will get back on the board, potting a goal
    - Kessel will be stymied, but he will pick up two assists
    - 4th line will contribute a goal.

    Leafs W 5-4.

  2. Mark Ritter says:

    I think the Flyers will be stoked to take on the Leafs in their building. As much as Philly has strugled of late (4-4-2) in their past ten games, I think they will find a way to beat the Leafs. I’ll say 4-2 Flyers, same score as the last time they met.

  3. Mark Ritter says:

    Well Hud- a 4-3 loss. Close, but once again our Buds fell short. At least Phaneuf threw down with hartnell- wonder if he told him to “suck it”????…lol…

  4. Dave says:

    Tough loss tonight….the buds need to get back on track for Les Habitants Saturday night.

    I have just two words for Hartnell:

    Wait for it….

    Wait for it….

    MAPLE LEAFS

    Because thats who I believe he will be playing for in the not too distant future. Bank on it boys!

    Dave

  5. Mark Ritter says:

    I’d like nothing more than to see Hartnell in a Maple Leaf uniform, but it’s just not realistic. With the absence of Pronger, He is the heart and soul of the Flyers and with the Orange and Black looking for a Cup they have to hold onto him…sorry my man, I just don’t see it happening. But I’ll bite—who would the Leafs ship to Philly?

  6. Hudson says:

    Yep close. I had Kessel right, Lupul almost right, but Grabo and the fourth line let me down!

    Mark, I can’t believe it, but you were right about Hartnell and Phaneuf! Wow. I had to listen to the PHI broadcast again because I listened in the states. But those boneheads didn’t talk/know about the Allstar game chirping. Anything on the Leaf broadcast?

  7. Hudson says:

    You’ve gotta fix these time stamps. They are three hours behind Eastern? Or are you a west coaster?

  8. MarkRitter says:

    Hey Hud-

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the game with the sound on, so I am not sure what was said by the Philly broadcast crew. There really wasn’t much airplay about what Hartnell said to Phaneuf during the game, I caught it so I threw out the article and to be honest nobody was really upset with what Hartnell did.

    As far as the time goes, I am in the Toronto area, but the dude that sets up my site is a westcoaster- thus the time change…

    Habs up next. This will be a gruelling game, but I am fairly confident the Leafs will take this one, I’ll say 3-2, with OT a real possibility.

    Peace!

  9. Dave says:

    Agreed brother. Harts maintains the identity on broad street and I don’t see Philly moving him this year. Having said that, I’d also bet that Burkie loves this guy – who can argue that he plays the BB game and would be a great fit in Toronto. I’d bet Burkie takes a run at him in the off season and will continue to persue him through the year.
    Philly simply cannot afford to lose the goal scoring this year he has provided to go deep unless they get equal goals coming back in a player.

    Having said that, what would it take this year?

    To Philly:
    Schenn
    Grabovski
    2012 4th

    To Toronto
    Hartnell
    Conditional 2nd or perhaps a 1st
    (Conditions based on Philly either making the cup final or re-signing him)

    Long shot I know but what say you?

    Dave

  10. Hudson says:

    I think the picks would have to be opposite. How could Toronto end up with a 1st or 2nd? Anyway, even if they valued Schenn and Grabovski that much, which I doubt they do, Hartnell is too big a piece of their puzzle. Especially given what they tossed from their team over the summer. That boy ain’t going nowhere.

  11. Mark Ritter says:

    Dave—

    While Schenn and Grabbo would be tempting, I still say given the fact the Flyers view themselves as Cup contenbders you do not trade the likes of Hartnell.

    Hartnell is a UFA after next season, perhaps Burkie takes a stab at him then, but when you consider his dislike of Phaneuf, he’d probably pass at joining the Blue and White.

    The list of 2013 UFA’s is incredible—that is the year Burke will make his biggest moves.

    Here’s a quick look at the games best that may be UFA’s after next season—

    Player Pos Team Age Cap Hit Expiry

    Crosby, Sidney » F PIT 24 $8,700,000 2013 (UFA)
    Iginla, Jarome » F CGY 34 $7,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Timonen, Kimmo » D PHI 36 $6,333,333 2013 (UFA)
    Elias, Patrik » F NJD 35 $6,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Backstrom, Niklas » G MIN 33 $6,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Visnovsky, Lubomir » D ANA 35 $5,600,000 2013 (UFA)
    Gonchar, Sergei » D OTT 37 $5,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Perry, Corey » F ANA 26 $5,325,000 2013 (UFA)
    Getzlaf, Ryan » F ANA 26 $5,325,000 2013 (UFA)
    Ribeiro, Mike » F DAL 32 $5,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Thomas, Tim » G BOS 37 $5,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Alfredsson, Daniel » F OTT 39 $4,875,000 2013 (UFA)
    Connolly, Tim » F TOR 30 $4,750,000 2013 (UFA)
    McDonald, Andy » F STL 34 $4,700,000 2013 (UFA)
    Hainsey, Ron » D WIN 30 $4,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Lupul, Joffrey » F TOR 28 $4,250,000 2013 (UFA)
    Fisher, Mike » F NAS 31 $4,200,000 2013 (UFA)
    Hartnell, Scott » F PHI 29 $4,200,000 2013 (UFA)
    Morrow, Brenden » F DAL 33 $4,100,000 2013 (UFA)
    Streit, Mark » D NYI 34 $4,100,000 2013 (UFA)
    Bouchard, Pierre-Marc » F MIN 27 $4,080,000 2013 (UFA)
    Antropov, Nikolai » F WIN 31 $4,062,500 2013 (UFA)
    Regehr, Robyn » D BUF 31 $4,020,000 2013 (UFA)
    Whitney, Ryan » D EDM 28 $4,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Roy, Derek » F BUF 28 $4,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Staal, Jordan » F PIT 23 $4,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Horton, Nathan » F BOS 26 $4,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Zidlicky, Marek » D MIN 35 $4,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Zajac, Travis » F NJD 26 $3,887,500 2013 (UFA)
    Khabibulin, Nikolai » G EDM 39 $3,750,000 2013 (UFA)
    Enstrom, Tobias » D WIN 27 $3,750,000 2013 (UFA)
    Clowe, Ryane » F SAN 29 $3,625,000 2013 (UFA)
    Lehtonen, Kari » G DAL 28 $3,550,000 2013 (UFA)
    Ryder, Michael » F DAL 31 $3,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Cullen, Matt » F MIN 35 $3,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Hamrlik, Roman » D WAS 37 $3,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Lombardi, Matthew » F TOR 29 $3,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Gagne, Simon » F LAK 31 $3,500,000 2013 (UFA)
    Zubrus, Dainius » F NJD 33 $3,400,000 2013 (UFA)
    Scuderi, Rob » D LAK 33 $3,400,000 2013 (UFA)
    Edler, Alexander » D VAN 25 $3,250,000 2013 (UFA)
    MacArthur, Clarke » F TOR 26 $3,250,000 2013 (UFA)
    Weiss, Stephen » F FLA 28 $3,100,000 2013 (UFA)
    Vlasic, Marc-Edouard » D SAN 24 $3,100,000 2013 (UFA)
    Filppula, Valtteri » F DET 27 $3,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Leopold, Jordan » D BUF 31 $3,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Lydman, Toni » D ANA 34 $3,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    Armstrong, Colby » F TOR 29 $3,000,000 2013 (UFA)
    White, Ian » D DET 27 $2,875,000 2013 (UFA)
    Poti, Tom » D WAS 34 $2,875,000 2013 (UFA)
    Cleary, Daniel » F DET 33 $2,800,000 2013 (UFA)
    Clarkson, David » F NJD 27 $2,666,667 2013 (UFA)

  12. Hudson says:

    That is one serious list…

  13. Hudson says:

    And thanks btw!

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