The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing great hockey right now.
The Toronto Maple Leafs look way more comfortable and confident, and the stats show it.
Since firing Mike Babcock, the Leafs have averaged just over four goals a game and have tightened up defensively with an average of two goals against, which will be put to the test tonight against a Philadelphia team that has scored 13 goals in their last three games.
Frederik Andersen has been unreal as usual, and will get the start for the Leafs tonight, leaving Hutchinson to take on the Avalanche tomorrow night. Andersen has won his last four starts, allowing just five goals throughout those games for a .963 sv%. (Stats courtesy of NHL.com)
This will be the final matchup of the season against the Flyers, and the last time these two teams played, Mitch Marner got injured, and has since inspired head coach Sheldon Keefe to make some lineup changes.
At Leafs practice yesterday it was reported by TSN’s Mark Masters that Zach Hyman was lined up with Alex Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen, which will be a forechecking threat against any defensive pairing in the league, and can hopefully allow Kerfoot and Kapanen to start scoring again.
This means that Ilya Mikheyev will be getting the opportunity to play alongside Marner and Tavares once Mitch returns, which will definitely add an offensive upside that Hyman could not provide for that line.
The Philadelphia Flyers have won their last four games and currently sit third in a strong Metropolitan division with a 15-7-5 record, outscoring their opponents 22-10 in their last 5 games.
Philadelphia goaltender Carter Hart will get the start against the Maple Leafs tonight, which will mark the first time the Leafs play him this season. Hart has won his last two starts and has only allowed one goal in each contest for a .956 sv%.
The Flyers will once again be in the absence of former second overall pick Nolan Patrick, who has yet to play a game this season. This has allowed for Travis Konecny to step up his role and take advantage of every minute of it.
Konecny leads the Flyers with 25 points through 27 games, and also leads the team in CF% with 58.4%. Despite being only 5’10 and 175lbs, Konecny also provides a physical presence for Philadelphia and has become a pest at both ends of the ice. (Stats Courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com)
As Marner gets closer to returning there will be a couple of changes coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, but they will only be better for it. With the way this team is playing, there is no reason to expect anything but success from here on out.