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Flyers vs. Maple Leafs preview: Will Lindros’ special night provide extra spark?

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Fresh off a throttling at MSG, will the retirement of No. 88 give the Flyers an extra boost against the Leafs?

Kate Frese / SBNation
Kate Frese / SBNation

The Flyers saw their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt end thanks to a 5-1 shellacking courtesy of the Rangers on Tuesday night, but they’re back in action and looking to start a new streak against the Maple Leafs on what should be a special night at the Wells Fargo Center.

In you haven’t heard, or have been living under the proverbial rock, the Flyers will be retiring Eric Lindros’ No. 88 during a pregame ceremony. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, Lindros is one of the greatest Flyers to don the Orange and Black, and a generational talent from day one for the franchise.

Lindros amassed 659 points (290 goals, 369 assists) in 486 games in Philadelphia, and is at or near the top of a handful of Flyers all-time scoring records. He’s first in points per game (1.36), fifth in career points, sixth in assists and eight in goals. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1991 draft, Lindros is currently 17th all-time in points per game in NHL history (1.13).

Growing up as a kid in the 90’s watching Eric Lindros was an absolute treat, and there have been few players who could dominate a game quite like “The Big E” could. Lindros was must-see TV every night during those days, and even with the drama between him and the Flyers later in his career, it’s nice to see him finally honored by having his number retired.

As for the current Flyers, they look to shake off a dreadful result in New York on Tuesday as they welcome Lindros’ third NHL team —the Toronto Maple Leafs— to town. The Leafs should be a welcome sight for the Flyers, who have taken a pair of 4-2 decisions against the Leafs already this season.

Toronto is in need of a win themselves, having lost three of their last five games despite earning two points via overtime losses in two of those three defeats. They’ve averaged just two goals per game in their last three and haven’t seen Auston Matthews record a point in any of those contests. Keeping them afloat has been a combination of a top-five penalty kill and a top-ten power play overall this season.

Despite the final score, the Flyers came out with a purpose in the first period against New York, but were victimized by three Rangers goals after Jordan Weal opened the scoring to close the period. Things unraveled for a combination of reasons: the Rangers’ speed, the Flyers’ turnover issues, and Brian Elliott’s inability to come up with a save on either of the two first period breakaways. The Rangers did give the Flyers three power plays, but they weren’t able to solve Henrik Lundqvist with the man-advantage.

Against the Leafs, the Flyers will need to stay out of the penalty box and limit the chances they give the talented Leafs to break out of their scoring funk. Despite their excellent power play and penalty kill, the Leafs are a fairly average team at even strength. They’re 17th with a 49.64% Corsi-For and 16th with an xGF% of 50.93 at even strength. The Flyers dominated the Rangers at even strength everywhere but the scoreboard, and they’ll need more of the same against the Leafs.

Loose pucks

Claude Giroux has been a point per game player against Toronto over his last 11 games (5G, 6A)…Wayne Simmonds isn’t far behind with 10 points (5G, 5A) in that same span...Michal Neuvirth is 9-5-1 with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage

William Nylander has five points (3G, 2A) in six career games against the Flyers…Nazem Kadri has 14 points (5G, 9A), including two goals so far this season…Andersen is 6-2 with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in his career against Philadelphia.

Flyers’ subject to change lineup:

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Konecny

Raffl - Filppula - Voracek

Weal - Patrick - Simmonds

Goulbourne - Laughton - Lehtera

Defensemen

Provorov - Gostisbehere

Hagg - MacDonald

Manning - Gudas

Goalies

Neuvirth

(Elliott)