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The Flyers are starting their backup goalie in the biggest game of the year

In Toronto against the Leafs in what amounts to a must-win, the Flyers are starting the lesser of their two goalies.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of one of their most impressive offensive performances of the season on Tuesday night in Buffalo, the Flyers will look to repeat the feat tonight in what’s turning out to be a pretty damn important game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s March. At the Air Canada Centre. In a meaningful game. Kinda exciting?

Here’s the deal: the Leafs enter the game as the lone team between the Flyers and the final playoff spot, currently occupied by the New York Islanders. A win by Philadelphia tonight will put them in a tie with the Leafs for that spot. Should the Isles lose in Vancouver late tonight, both Toronto and the Flyers would sit a point out of the postseason.

A Flyers loss ... well, that makes things pretty difficult. These head-to-head matchups are the four point swings you need when you’re in a playoff race.

Naturally, in what amounts to the biggest game of the year thus far, the Flyers are riding the hot hand and going with Steve Mason in net hahahaha no, of course they aren’t. It’s looking like Michal Neuvirth will be back in the net tonight because, well, which goalie would you start tonight?

Flyers goalies since start of February

Goalie GP Record GA SA SV Save % SO PIM TOI
Goalie GP Record GA SA SV Save % SO PIM TOI
Michal Neuvirth 9 3 - 5 - 1 23 209 186 0.89 0 2 539:31:00
Steve Mason 5 3 - 1 -1 9 161 152 0.944 1 0 305:47:00
via Hockey Reference

The rest of the lineup will surely be the same, unless ... I don’t know anymore, man. Whatever, Dave.

Here’s a bit about tonight’s game from the Toronto perspective, via our friends at Pension Plan Puppets:

The Maple Leafs returned from a disastrous California road trip and defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. The Leafs are still facing two big challenges in their season: Third periods and shootouts. All season the Leafs have been letting up a bit in the third, there have been numerous blown leads in the final frame and generally it’s not a pretty sight. If they make it past that and through overtime, we get to the shootout where the Leafs have just a single win.

Philadelphia lineup

Forwards

  1. Jordan Weal - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
  2. Brayden Schenn - Valtteri Filppula - Jakub Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Sean Couturier - Matt Read
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Travis Konecny

Defense

  1. Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald
  2. Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere
  3. Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Goalies

  1. Michal Neuvirth
  2. Steve Mason

Scratches: Michael Raffl (inj), Dale Weise, Nick Schultz

Toronto lineup

  1. James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Mitchell Marner
  2. Leo Komarov -Brian Boyle - Connor Brown
  3. Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander
  4. Matt Martin - Eric Fehr - Nikita Soshnikov

Defense

  1. Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev
  2. Jake Gardiner - Alexey Marchenko
  3. Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Goalies

  1. Frederik Andersen
  2. Curtis McElhinney

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