The Flyers franchise doesn’t like even-numbered seasons. In the past three campaigns that started with an even-numbered year, Philadelphia has missed the playoffs. And it’s likely to happen again. In the past four that began with an odd-numbered year, the Flyers got in.
Philly hasn’t been eliminated from a wild-card spot yet, but it’s highly unlikely the team gets in the playoffs with it behind Carolina, Columbus and Montreal for the final two spots in the East. All those clubs also have positive goal differentials, while the Flyers’ is minus-19. Goal differential generally is the best indicator of what a team really is.
Flyers vs Maple Leafs Betting Analysis
It’s the second of three meetings between the Flyers and Leafs, with Toronto visiting the land of cheesesteaks on March 27. The clubs played way back on Nov. 24 in Toronto and the Leafs rolled to a 6-0 victory.
Andreas Johnsson had his first career hat trick for Toronto and completed it at 12:20 of the first period. He was the obvious No. 1 star and the first Toronto player with a first-period hat trick since Wendel Clark on Oct. 11, 1986. Mitch Marner had two assists and Garret Sparks 35 saves. Calvin Pickard allowed four goals on six shots for Philadelphia and then was pulled for Anthony Stolarz. Neither team was assessed a penalty.
The home team has won six of the past seven in the series.
Second of a back-to-back for Philadelphia as it lost 5-2 at home to Washington on Thursday to snap a two-game winning streak. The Flyers played their second in a row without suspended winger Jakub Voracek, but he’ll be back in there Friday. Voracek is third on the team with 61 points (18G, 43A). It was rookie Carter Hart in net Thursday but will be veteran Brian Elliott here. Elliott has won his past two, allowing two goals vs. Ottawa on Monday last time out. Philly has won its past four in the second of a back-to-back.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto flunked a major test on Monday in losing 6-2 at home to Stanley Cup favourite Tampa Bay, and the Leafs came out completely flat Wednesday in falling behind 5-0 to Chicago. The Leafs did close within 5-4 on John Tavares’ 39th goal of the season at 18:29 of the third but couldn’t pull even. Tavares’ goal total surpasses his career high of 38 in 2014-15 with the Islanders. Johnsson (20th of season), Auston Matthews (32nd) and Morgan Rielly (19th) also scored. Marner had two assists to push his team-leading points total to 84.
Frederik Andersen was pulled Monday vs. the Lightning and then yanked after allowing four goals on just 14 shots vs. Chicago. It’s the first time in his career that he’s been pulled in back-to-back games due to performance. Might the backup Sparks start here? Seems likely after he allowed one goal on 25 shots vs. the Hawks.