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Flyers vs. Maple Leafs preview: JvR returns to Philadelphia

James van Riemsdyk, the Maple Leafs' leading scorer, returns to Philadelphia for the first time this evening.


Two weeks ago, when the Flyers were in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, it didn't exactly go according to plan. James van Riemsdyk blew past Luke Schenn for an embarrassing goal against -- one of Reemer's 11 goals on the year -- and the orange and black were laughed out of the rink, 5-2.

Toronto Maple Leafs (11-8-0, 22) at Philadelphia Flyers (9-10-1, 19)
7:00 p.m. | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
TV: CSN Philly, TSN | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Toronto perspective at Pension Plan Puppets

Toronto's been a bit shaky since. They're coming off a rough one-goal loss to Ottawa on Saturday night, and they've split their six games since beating the Flyers on Feb. 11. The Leafs lost both James Reimer and Matt Frattin to injury that night against the Flyers, and both Frattin and Nazem Kadri were producing well together before the injuries, giving the Leafs some depth beyond the top line of van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. It's a little tougher of a go now on the offensive side of the puck for Toronto.

Sean Couturier wasn't in the lineup for the Flyers last time the teams met, nor was Scott Hartnell. Of course, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds weren't producing at the same rate they are now, either. The Flyers' special teams have continued and even accelerated their hot play of late too, so all-in-all, even with the loss of Matt Read, the Flyers are a better team today than they were when the faced the Leafs two weeks back. All good things.

Ilya Bryzgalov will likely be in goal for the Flyers tonight. Ben Scrivens, who has performed quite admirably in Reimer's absence for the Leafs, will tend the other goal. Let's peek at lineups.

Hartnell - Giroux - Voracek
Briere - Schenn - Simmonds
Talbot - Couturier - Rinaldo
McGinn - Fedotenko - Knuble

Timonen - Schenn
Grossmann - Coburn
Gustafsson - Gervais

And via Leafs Nation (where they have a really great preview from the other perspective, by the way), here's the Toronto lineup:

JvR - Bozak - Kessel
MacArthur - Kadri - Komarov
Kulemin - Grabovski - McClement
McLaren - Steckel - Brown

Phaneuf - Holzer
Gunnarsson - Kostka
Franson - Fraser

Questions to Answer
  1. Can the Flyers shut down the Leafs top line, especially, for embarrassment's sake, van Riemsdyk?
  2. Can Jakub Voracek keep up the hot streak?
  3. Special teams have been great lately. More of the same?
  4. A .500 record. (Okay, fine, an NHL-defined quasi-.500 record.) Can it happen, finally?

7 p.m. puck drop on CSN and 97.5 The Fanatic. Go team.