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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, February 11th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (5-6-1) at Toronto Maple Leafs (7-5-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try for their longest winning streak since early 2012 when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in Monday's battle at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto is coming off three straight victories and will take aim at its first four-game winning streak since Jan. 3-10 of last season.
However, the Maple Leafs have had little success in recent years against Philadelphia, losing five straight and nine of 10 in this series. The Flyers have also won their last five games in Toronto.
Monday's test also marks Philadelphia defenseman Luke Schenn's return to Toronto after he was traded to the Flyers last summer for forward James van Riemsdyk. Both players are 23 years old and former top-five draft picks.
"When the schedule came out, this was the first game I looked for," said Schenn, who played in 310 games in four years with Toronto, on Philadelphia's website. "It's something you look forward to ... I think both teams have obviously moved on and they're both having success too and we are starting to too. There is no question that I look forward to going back there."
Early returns suggest the Maple Leafs got the better of the trade with van Riemsdyk recording seven goals and two assists over his first 12 games in Toronto, while Schenn has one goal and one assist with a plus-3 rating. However, the stay-at-home defenseman has filled a need for the Flyers and Schenn is currently fourth on Philadelphia in ice time.
"I wouldn't say (I check his stats) every night ... but he plays in Toronto so you're going to see it, whether you check or not," added Schenn. "It looks like he is having a lot of success and I know him a little bit and obviously wish him the best. He's getting a few goals and that's good to see."
Toronto played Saturday in Montreal and was able to rout the rival Canadiens by a 6-0 score. James Reimer made 37 saves for his seventh career shutout and the Leafs used a well-balanced offensive attack en route to the easy win at the Bell Centre.
Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs, who have won three in a row for the first time since Feb. 1-6 of last season. Van Riemsdyk and Dion Phaneuf each added a goal and an assist, while Leo Komarov, Tyler Bozak and Korbinian Holzer also lit the lamp.
Kessel has two goals and four assists over his last three games after recording no goals and four helpers in his first nine outings.
"You guys have been asking me about it for a while, but he's a special player," Phaneuf said of Kessel. "He's scored a lot of goals for a while, consistently. Sometimes they don't go in, but now that they're going in he's a guy who can get hot, so it's nice to see him get another one tonight."
Toronto improved to 2-0 against the Canadiens this season. The Leafs also won at Montreal by a 2-1 score on Jan. 19.
The Maple Leafs will aim for just their second home win of the season on Monday after going 1-4-0 at ACC to begin the campaign. Toronto has lost its last two test as the hosts since beating Washington on Jan. 31.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is 1-5-0 on the road this season and is kicking off a six-game trek on Monday. The Flyers have dropped their last three as the guest since notching a 7-1 rout at Florida on Jan. 26.
Danny Briere helped the Flyers pick up two points on Saturday, as he scored at the 1:47 mark of overtime to give Philly a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the second goal in eight games this season for Briere.
On the winning play, Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossman sent a lead pass down the left wing and Briere took it into the Carolina zone. He cut to the front of the net and snapped a shot that hit off the left post, then went off the back of Carolina goaltender Cam Ward before trickling in.
"Yeah when I cut to the middle like I did at first, my plan was to drop it," said Briere. "I realized that their defenseman was up and the second defenseman and forward were back checking, lunging to go towards Kurtis (Foster) as well, so I decided to keep the puck and there was a little opening in the slot to shoot it in."
Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek posted a goal and an assist while Matt Read also scored for the Flyers, who went 3-0-1 on a four-game homestand. Ilya Bryzgalov gave up three goals on 33 shots in the win.
Bryzgalov has started 11 of Philadelphia's 12 games so far, but he could get a break in one of the next two contests since the Flyers are set to visit Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Brian Boucher would be the man spelling Bryzgalov were he to receive a break since regular backup Michael Leighton is out with an upper-body injury. Boucher was recalled Sunday from the Flyers' AHL affiliate in Adirondack to take the roster spot of Leighton, whose only start this year came on Jan. 27.
02/11 11:10:57 ET