Toronto Maple Leafs Take On Flyers + Ilya Samsonov to Start

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will finish off a three game road stretch on Thursday night as they head into Philadelphia to take on the Flyers for the second time this season.

Currently, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an odd road trip where they played in Boston and Montreal last Thursday and Saturday before they came home to sleep in their own beds for a couple nights, followed by them heading to Pennsylvania for this one game.

The club will head home for a Saturday game against the Carolina Hurricanes before turning right back to Philadelphia to play the Flyers again next Tuesday.

The Flyers and Maple Leafs met a month ago that saw Auston Matthews record a natural hattrick in just under eight minutes to give the club a two goal cushion in the second period. However, the lead would evaporate in the third period and the two teams would need overtime where William Nylander would score his 27th of the season to lift the Maple Leafs to a victory.

Toronto Maple Leafs Take On Flyers + Robertson Sits + Samsonov Starts

Despite many thinking the Philadelphia Flyers were going to be in a rebuild season, they are currently in a playoff position holding down the third place in the Metropolitan Division four points up on the New York Islanders and are coming off a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Like the Flyers, the Maple Leafs are entrenched in the third place spot in their division as they sit nine points back of the Bruins for second place and eight points up on the Tampa Bay Lightning from dropping to a Wild Card position.

It appears as though Ilya Samsonov will get the start and despite his critics he has turned his season around. The Maple Leafs goalie has put on a stretch of 14 games where he has posted a 12-2-0 record with a 2.33 GAA and .913 save percentage.

Not long ago it appeared that not just 70, but maybe 75-goals was going to be a possibility for Matthews this season, however, the league's best goal scorer has gone cold since late February. After going through a stretch of 19-goals in 15 games, the former first overall pick has just two goals in his last eight games. He has had just one colder stretch this year when he registered just one goal over nine games in November.

Matthews does still have the league lead in goals, however after former Maple Leaf Zach Hyman recorded his fourth hattrick of the season to reach 46-goals on Wednesday, the lead is down to just eight.

It looks as thought Matthews will be without his wingman Mitch Marner who was held out of the game on Saturday against the Canadiens and is still listed as day-to-day.

Despite having a hattrick against the Flyers this season the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner hasn't dominated them as much as other teams. Through 16 career games against the Broad Street Bullies, Matthews has just nine goals, which would be astonishing for most NHLers, just not the Arizona product.

Bobby McMann First Game Since New Deal

Bobby McMann will play in his first game since signing his new two-year deal that guarantees himself $1.35 Million a season. McMann has come a long way since being placed on waivers back in October, but the Wainwright native has taken every opportunity this season.

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The undrafted winger has gone from being unclaimed on waivers, to fourth line depth player to being a contributing member on the third line. The 6'2" forward has netted ten goals over 40-games this season and has seen his ice-time climb to over 13-minutes a night over the last dozen games.