Flyers (5-5-0, 10 PTS) @ Maple Leafs (7-3-0, 14 PTS)
After an infuriating loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday that including several controversial late-game calls, the Flyers return to action center stage on Hockey Night in Canada in Toronto on Saturday night.
The Flyers have struggled in back-to-back losses after a fairly strong start to the season. Rookie Nolan Patrick will miss his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury, while the team will likely turn to Brian Elliott in goal after a poor showing from Michal Neuvirth on Thursday.
The Leafs made a couple of roster moves ahead of tonight’s game, recalling forward Kasperi Kapanen from the Toronto Marlies and loaning forward Eric Fehr to the AHL. The Leafs aren’t exactly rolling right now, posting a 1-2-0 record in their past three games after beginning the season 6-1-0.
WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF
Radio: 97.5 FM
Puck Drop: 7:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
The Flyers’ roster will look very similar to Thursday night in Ottawa. Rookie Nolan Patrick remains out, while Andrew MacDonald is still dealing with a lower-body injury. Dale Weise is expected to be the healthy scratch up front. Sean Couturier is having a fantastic start to the season, leading the team with seven goals, while the fourth line with Taylor Leier, Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl is arguably one of the best fourth lines in the NHL right now.
Giroux – Couturier – Voracek
Weal – Filppula – Simmonds
Read – Lehtera – Konecny
Leier – Laughton – Raffl
Provorov – Gostisbehere
Sanheim – Hagg
Manning – Gudas
Toronto: Maple Leafs Line Combinations
Ex-Flyer James van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) and Matt Martin (undisclosed) will not be in the lineup for the Maple Leafs tonight, while Kasperi Kapanen could make his season debut. Kapanen is a lethal sniper who has scored three times in six games for the Marlies this season.The 21-year-old impressed in the Leafs’ playoff round against the Washington Capitals and could be one to watch tonight.
Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
Komarov – Kadri -Brown
Marleau – Bozak – Marner
Leivo – Moore – Kapanen
Rielly – Hainsey
Gardiner – Zaitsev
Borgman – Polak
Three Storylines to watch
Can the Flyers turn Thursday’s frustrating loss against the Senators into a rallying cry? The players and coaching staff were visibly upset about what transpired in that game and will need to find a way to turn that anger into success on the ice. Dave Hakstol was irate in his post-game press conference Thursday evening and it will interesting to see how he uses that to motivate his players. Philadelphia hasn’t been a great first-period team this season and they need to come out of the gate much better than they did against Ottawa considering the Leafs lead the NHL in first-period goals (18).
Can the Flyers get a strong goaltending performance to set them back on the right track? Brian Elliott has been a disappointment in his time since arriving in Philadelphia, but this is a 32-year-old goaltender who’s only a few years removed from some monster seasons in St. Louis. It’s way too early to be criticizing the two-year contract the Flyers gave him this offseason. He still has plenty to offer and Saturday would be the perfect night for him to come up big and steal a game. Frederik Andersen has been up-and-down in the Leafs’ crease and is coming off a poor showing against Carolina in which he made a glove save-of-the-year candidate, but also gave up six goals. The Flyers need to take advantage of some potential low confidence from Andersen entering tonight’s game.
Can Sean Couturier keep it going? Couturier has been one of the best storylines in the early goings for the Flyers and is leading a resurgent top line. He scored twice against Ottawa on Thursday and has been firing tons of pucks on net, which is a very good sign for the Flyers right now. The first-line center is playing inspired and confident hockey right now and is already halfway to his entire goal output from last season. The Maple Leafs have given up the seventh-most amount of goals in the entire NHL this season and Couturier will look to take full advantage.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM as the Flyers look to close out a brief two-game Canadian road swing on a high note.