The Toronto Maple Leafs look nothing like a team with playoff aspirations having gone 2-11-1 since Feb. 7 to drop from seventh in the Eastern Conference to 12th. The Maple Leafs have been outscored 25-13 in going 0-5-1 at the Air Canada Centre in that span, and haven't dropped seven straight home games in a single season since Nov. 11-Dec. 5, 1984.
In Wednesday's 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh, they squandered a 2-0 lead build on goals from Phil Kessel and Carl Gunnarsson, falling to 1-2-0 since Carlyle took over following Ron Wilson's firing.
"We showed signs of enthusiasm and stuck with our game plan," Carlyle said. "I thought our work ethic was stronger, but we ran out of bodies again."
Already playing without wingers Joffrey Lupul and Colby Armstrong, the Maple Leafs lost defenseman Cody Franson (eye) and winger Mike Brown (thigh) in the first period. Armstrong is expected to return against Philadelphia but Franson and Brown will likely be out.
The Flyers are again expected to be without forward Jakub Voracek (head) and defensemen Kimmo Timonen (lower body), Andrej Meszaros (lower body) and Pavel Kubina (upper body).
After struggling for much of February, the Philadelphia Flyers appear to be hitting their stride.
Most importantly, their goaltender has been the catalyst to the turnaround and appears to be brimming with confidence.
Coming off his second shutout in three games, Ilya Bryzgalov should be in net looking to lead the Flyers to a fifth straight victory Saturday night against a Toronto (30-30-7) team hoping to avoid its longest single-season home losing streak in nearly 30 years.
Following a 4-7-1 finish to February, Philadelphia (38-21-7) has opened March with four consecutive victories. The Flyers scored five goals for the third time in six games in Thursday's 5-0 win over Florida, but once again Bryzgalov was the story.
He stopped 28 shots and appears to have turned the corner after a rocky start to the first season of a nine-year, $51 million contract.
Bryzgalov has a 1.25 goals-against average during the winning streak, and is 7-2-0 with a 2.17 GAA in starting the Flyers' last 10 games. He has allowed a total of three goals in those two losses, but Philadelphia was blanked in each contest.
"He's been unbelievable," Jagr said. "If he plays like this, it's great for us."
It also seems to be helping Bryzgalov's psyche.
Bryzgalov received mock cheers in Winnipeg 2 1/2 weeks ago, and back in October following a 9-8 loss to the Jets he admitted to have "zero confidence" in himself.” Sportsnet.ca
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