After collecting nine out of a possible 10 points during their first five games of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been giving the home folks many reasons to smile. The Flyers opened their three-game homestand by getting throttled by the undefeated Washington Capitals and doubled up by the weary St. Louis Blues on Saturday. While understandably upset with the results, captain Chris Pronger is keeping the bigger picture in mind. “Well, we’re only seven games in,” Pronger said. “We need to do things better. We knew it would be a work in progress. We have a lot of new faces and you’re not going to go 82-0.” With the improbable perfect season no longer an issue, the Flyers will set their sights on a more attainable goal - winning the finale of their homestand. They will attempt to do just that Monday against the Northeast Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto had better get acclimated to life on the road. The Maple Leafs, who split the first two contests of their four-game road trip, will return home against Pittsburgh on Saturday before backing their bags for three more road contests.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, LTV (Toronto), CS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (5-1-1): Goaltender James Reimer suffered what coach Ron Wilson called “whiplash-type symptoms” in the first period of Saturday’s 5-4 overtime win over the rival Montreal Canadiens. TSN reported Reimer is expected to miss Monday’s game in favor of Jonas Gustavsson, who was brutalized for six goals in his lone start against the Flyers. Captain Dion Phaneuf is riding a four-game point streak and is tied for the scoring lead among NHL defensemen with nine points.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (4-2-1): After a sluggish start, Danny Briere is starting to work off the rust. He collected a goal and an assist in Saturday’s loss to the Blues. The Quebec native has also fared well versus the Maple Leafs, collecting 14 goals and 18 assists in 25 contests. Ilya Bryzgalov has dropped three straight overall (0-2-1), but is 4-0-0 with a slim 1.55 goals against average in his career versus Toronto.
1. Toronto’s Phil Kessel is tied with Pittsburgh’s James Neal with eight goals and leads the league with 14 points this season. Although Kessel has secured at least one point in all but one game this season, he has only one goal in 18 career contests versus the Flyers.
2. Philadelphia has won seven of the last nine meetings with Toronto, including three of the last four in each of the last two seasons.
PREDICTION: Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2. Claude Giroux enjoys playing against Toronto. The 23-year-old Ontario native will net his fifth career goal versus the Maple Leafs as Philadelphia puts an end to its modest skid.
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