After consecutive regulation losses to two of the league's top possession teams in Los Angeles and New York, the Flyers look to get back on track against one of the more hilarious teams of the league in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs, well, uh... hmm... where do we begin?
The Maple Leafs, as they currently stand, hold the worst 5-on-5 shot-attempt differential of the analytics era. That's pretty crazy. And pretty hilarious. They're in the midst of a six-game losing streak, one that's seen them nose-dive from third in the conference to all the way down to tenth in the conference -- and out of a playoff spot. The excuses are piling up. Their front office and coaching staff are saying some pretty ridiculous things. The smallest things are setting everybody off. We've heard leadership more times in the past four days than we can count.
It's depressing, and it almost makes us feel bad for the situation that the fans have to endure. But half of them (the fans, I mean) don't really have a clue with what's really wrong with the team or management, and you'll hear another Luke Schenn joke, and -- you know what -- nevermind, forget it. Let the collapse continue.
The Flyers are a different story. The team started off their 2013-2014 campaign in Philadelphia with a loss at the hands of the Maple Leafs and, three weeks later, found themselves with the worst record in the league. But since November 9th? They're fifth in the league in points percentage. We'll take it.
Heading into tonight, Philadelphia has won 5 of 7, including 5 straight last week against PIT, CHI, DAL and STL. They find themselves in a relatively comfortable spot: they've got a hold on third in the Metropolitan division by three points and a 94.2% chance of making the playoffs. The teams are heading in two different directions, wouldn't you say?
The Flyers, at home, have the luxury of last change tonight; look for Sean Couturier and Matt Read to go head-to-head against Toronto's first line of van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Kessel. Yeah, yeah -- get it out now re: van Riemsdyk.
There's also some good news (depending on how you want to look at it) out of the beats this morning, as the colossal anchor known as Vincent Lecavalier was finally relegated to the fourth line. It's a miracle. He'll be centering Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo, and Tye McGinn slots up to the second line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
And the Leafs? I'm not really going to comment on the Leafs lineup, because Randy Carlyle is seemingly inept and always doing something crazy like giving Jay McClement almost 24 minutes of time on ice in a single game. Things never make sense up there.
But all of that is not important. What is important, however, is the fact that a Maple Leafs' loss may set some prrrrrrretty hilarious things into action. From yesterday:
Some of you may not know who Riddick Bowe is, and for that -- shame on you. He's a two-time world heavyweight champion, whose career-defining moment came in 1995, with an eighth-round knock-out of Evander Holyfield. He's apparently got a house in Toronto, and he's a diehard Leafs fan. Things have gotten so bad up there that Bowe has decided to to take matters into his own hands. Look out, Randy.
The game starts at 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on CSN. The Leafs are an unprecedentedly-bad hockey team. Go Flyers.