Flyers-Maple Leafs: Game 80 Preview

Must-win for Flyers against Maple Leafs

With Wednesday's loss in Detroit, things just got a lot more interesting. A win in Detroit would have presented an opportunity for the Flyers to clinch. Now, Thursday's game isn't a must-win for clinching purposes. It is a must win because it could very well be what decides the Flyers playoff fate.

The Philadelphia Flyers (39-27-13) are looking to get back into the win column after losing back-to-back games on Sunday and Wednesday with their playoff future anything but certain.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (28-41-11) made wholesale changes at the deadline, and enter their final two games with the NHL's worst record, but bright prospects that have made them a spoiler in games past.

Faceoff between the Flyers and Maple Leafs is set for 7 p.m.

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Maple Leafs Leaders GP G A P
Claude Giroux 76 22 44 66 Nazem Kadri 76 17 28 45
Wayne Simmonds 79 29 28 57 P.A. Parenteau 75 19 20 39
Brayden Schenn 77 25 31 56 Leo Komarov 66 19 17 36
Jakub Voracek 70 11 42 53 Morgan Rielly 80 9 27 36
Shayne Gostisbehere 61 16 27 43 Tyler Bozak 55 12 23 35
Player to Watch
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 39 William Nylander
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, -4 Last 5 Games: 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, E
Shayne Gostisbehere has goals in both games against the Leafs this season, including an overtime game-winner. The Leafs should be well aware of his abilities by now. The rookie has been relatively quiet of late, so look for the potential to have a big game.
There hasn't been much to get excited about this season for the Leafs, but William Nylander has provided some excitement of late. The 19-year-old taken eighth overall in 2014 has 10 points in 20 games, including five goals. 
Goalie Matchup
35 Steve Mason 35 Jonathan Bernier
22-19-9, 2.52 GAA, .918 SV% 11-21-3, 2.88 GAA, .907 SV%

It remains Steve Mason's net. The netminder makes his 11th straight start as the Flyers run for the playoffs enters its final three games. Mason has played well, regardless of wins and losses. In Wednesday's 3-0 defeat to Detroit, Mason made several spectacular saves to keep the game within reach.

Jonathan Bernier has been the Leafs primary goalie this season, putting up solid numbers despite a poor win-loss record. Bernier had four straight starts where he allowed two goals before allowing four in a loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Nick CousinsEvgeny Medvedev, R.J. Umberger, Jordan WealMichael Del Zotto

Left Wing Center Right Wing
93 Jake Voracek 28 Claude Giroux 17 Wayne Simmonds
10 Brayden Schenn 14 Sean Couturier 89 Sam Gagner
12 Michael Raffl 21 Scott Laughton 24 Matt Read
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 25 Ryan White
47 Andrew MacDonald 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
55 Nick Schultz 32 Mark Streit  
23 Brandon Manning 3 Radko Gudas  
35 Steve Mason    

The Flyers unveiled new lines and made two lineup changes. Scott Laughton returns to the lineup and will center Michael Raffl and Matt Read on the third line. Jake Voracek moves up to play left wing with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, while Brayden Schenn is now on the left win with Sean Couturier and Sam Gagner. Michal Neuvirth also returns to the Flyers lineup as the backup to Steve Mason.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-16th, T-20th at home), Maple Leafs (29th, 29th on road)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (22nd, 21th at home), Maple Leafs (T-19th, 4th on road) 
  • Recent History vs. Maple Leafs
    • Jan. 19, 2016 – The Flyers suffered a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs in Philadelphia. The Flyers took the lead on a power-play goal by Matt Read, but Roman Polak answered for Toronto to tie the game up. Joffrey Lupul scored in the second to give the Maple Leafs the lead through two. Shayne Gostisbehere notched the game-tying goal with 7:01 remaining in the third on a great individual effort, but Matt Hunwick's goal with just 7.5 seconds remaining gave the Maple Leafs the victory. Steve Mason made 32 saves in the loss.
    • Feb. 20, 2016 – The Flyers claimed a 5-4 overtime victory over the Leafs in Toronto. Shawn Matthias scored just 1:29 into the first to give the Leafs the early lead, but two quick goals for Sam Gagner and Jake Voracek put the Flyers in front after one. Brayden Schenn made it 3-1 just 57 seconds into the second, but Nick Spaling answered that goal mid-way through the period to cut the lead to one. Peter Holland tied the game at 3:16 of the third and just 1:16 later Byron Froese gave the Leafs the lead only to be answered by Matt Read just 32 seconds after that. The game went to overtime where Shayne Gostisbehere scored just 29 seconds in to give the Flyers the win. Steve Mason played 43:30 of the game, making 11 saves, before pulling himself with injury. Michal Neuvirth finished the game making nine saves in the final 16:59.
  • Flyers leaders vs. Maple Leafs
    • Claude Giroux – 24 games, 9 goals, 16 assists, 25 points
    • Mark Streit – 40 games, 3 goals, 17 assists, 20 points
    • Jake Voracek – 16 games, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points
    • Steve Mason – 11 games, 4-5-1, 3.11 GAA, .891 Sv%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Radko Gudas is playing in his 200th NHL game tonight.
    • Claude Giroux needs three points to move into 11th place all-time in Flyers history.

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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