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Preview: It’s a day game in Toronto!

Flyers kick off their Disney on Ice trip in hockey’s capital city.

Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The Flyers will hit the road tonight to face the Maple Leafs in Toronto, kicking off a road trip that will last through the rest of the calendar year.

The Flyers are scorching hot (for them) with points in 4 of their last 6 games and wins in 2 of their last 3. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs are slumping somewhat, with points in just 4 of their last 6 games and just 1 win in their last 3.

The Maple Leafs are one of the top-performing teams in the league—46 points for 2nd place in the Atlantic Division and the second-best record in the NHL—and one of the most offensively-talented ones, too.

While the Flyers have a clear number one starter in Carter Hart who they’ve been riding pretty heavily despite losing most of their games anyway, the Leafs have a more committee situation with Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray splitting time in net. It’ll be Samsonov today, who is 9-3-0 with a .929 save percentage.

Projected Flyers lines

James van Riemsdyk—Morgan Frost—Owen Tippett
Zack MacEwen—Scott Laughton—Kevin Hayes
Joel Farabee—Noah Cates—Travis Konecny
Nic Deslauriers—Patrick Brown—Wade Allison

Ivan Provorov—Rasmus Ristolainen
Travis Sanheim—Tony DeAngelo
Cam York—Justin Braun

Carter Hart
(Samuel Ersson)

Projected Maple Leafs lines

Michael Bunting—Auston Matthews—William Nylander
Pierre Engvall—David Kampf—Alexander Kerfoot
Calle Jarnkrok—John Tavares—Mitchell Marner
Zach Aston-Reese—Pontus Holmberg—Joey Anderson

Conor Timins—TJ Brodie
Timothy Liljegren—Rasmus Sandin
Mark Giordano—Justin Holl

Ilya Samsonov
(Matt Murray)

Keep an eye on:

  • Cam York, who was relaxing in the AHL before being forced to join the hazardous waste zone that is the Phantoms NHL affiliate a few weeks ago and has been able to make the best of it. The Flyers’ first-round pick from 2019 has 4 points in 6 games from the back-end.
  • Auston Matthews, who is 14th in the league in goals with 17 and 12th in points with 38. Matthews is one of the best players in the league and is hot at the moment with 17 points in the last 11 games. He has torched the Flyers in his career with 13 points in 13 games.
  • The JvR—Frost—Tippett line, which spent 12:21 together on Tuesday and outshot their Blue Jacket counterparts 13-4, not to mention out-shot-attempted them 24-6. They were also the Flyers most successful line in the loss to the Rangers on Saturday, with 9 shots and 5 against plus 15 shot attempts and 7 against.
  • William Nylander, who the Flyers should have pulled the trigger on trading Phillippe Myers for when they had the chance. Whether or not that was ever actually a plausible trade (it wasn’t), Nylander is now establishing himself as one of the game’s best wingers. Nylander is having the best goal-scoring year of his career so far, with 19 in 33 games for a 1.9 goals per 60 minutes pace.
  • The Leafs’ Next Gen production, which is part of the reason for the early 2 p.m. puck drop. It has become a yearly tradition now for the Leafs to turn over various aspects of their production to young creatives and turn over the best seats to the youths with the goal of “opening doors and leaving a lasting impact on the next generations of leaders, storytellers, players, and fans.”

Stray stats:

  • The Flyers are 100-63-22-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Toronto Maple Leafs, including 42-37-14-3 in Toronto.
  • Justin Braun just recently became the seventh player since the turn of the century to play at least 31 games and 500+ minutes to start a season without scoring a goal. But there’s a potential eighth on the horizon, as Rasmus Ristolainen is just 5 scoreless games away from joining him.
  • After a few years of being a team that relied heavily on their own goal scoring, the Maple Leafs are putting together a very solid defensive season: The only team allowing less goals per game (2.39) than Toronto is also the only team ahead of them in the standings (Boston’s 2.16).
  • Matthews is actually have somewhat of a down year by his standards this year. His shooting percentage of 11.4 is his career worst, coming even though he’s third in the league in shots on goal. Matthews’ current rate of 1.5 goals scored per 60 minutes is also the worst of his career, a sharp downturn from his rate of 2.4 last year.