Flyers not looking past lowly Maple Leafs

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Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek (93). (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

The Flyers will try to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games Saturday night when they host a sad-sack Toronto team that has lost eight straight.

In their last 12 games, the Maple Leafs are 1-10-1 and have been outscored, 40-16.

"I don't think we're in a position to look past anybody," defenseman Mark Streit said after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "It's more about us and how we play and how we approach the game."

"It's not in our minds that they've lost eight in a row," said winger Jake Voracek, the NHL's leading scorer with 58 points. "We just have to go out there and play the same way we've been playing. The last three games, we were a step up - skating-wise, physical-wise - and we really took it to the other team.

"We're being very physical," Voracek added. "I think that's what we need to do, especially at home. It's how you intimidate teams; it's how you make them think twice before they go get the puck. When we play that kind of game, we are at our best."

The Flyers have equaled a season high with three consecutive wins, all at home. They have defeated Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Winnipeg. In the last two games, Ryan White, who has missed most of the season because of a torn chest muscle, has centered the third line with newcomer Petr Straka and Wayne Simmonds. White has provided physicality, and he won nine of 10 faceoffs in Thursday's impressive 5-2 win over Winnipeg.

White "has been unreal in his two games," Voracek said. "He's physical and he drives the net. He's really surprised me, and he's going to help us a lot down the road."

In the last three games, goalie Steve Mason said, the Flyers' "compete level" has risen.

"Guys are working hard on the backcheck, and that's where I notice it the most, because that takes away all the quality opportunities off the rush, and it kind of hinders their opportunity to make plays," Mason said.

"We have good energy right now," coach Craig Berube said.

The Flyers are nine points out of a playoff spot, while the Leafs are 10 points out.

"We should have two hungry hockey clubs because these points that are remaining are really valuable," said Mason, mindful that both teams have little margin for error in their final 32 games.

 

Breakaways

There is a chance defenseman Nick Grossmann returns Saturday, Berube said. Grossmann has missed the last nine games with an injured right shoulder. When he returns, he is expected to replace Carlo Colaiacovo. . .. Scott Laughton (concussion) is not quite ready to return, and neither is ill winger Michael Raffl. . .. Mason tried out new caramel-color pads at practice, but didn't like them and will go back to the white ones when he plays in his 100th game with the Flyers on Saturday. Simmonds, who leads the Flyers with 18 goals, will play in his 500th NHL game. . .. Former Flyer James van Riemsdyk leads the Leafs with 21 goals but is minus-16. . . . After Saturday, the Flyers don't play again until they host the Islanders on Thursday.

 


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