Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers vs Toronto Maple Leafs

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At the end of October, the Philadelphia Flyers finished on an ugly note against the Pittsburgh Penguins, suffering a 7-1 loss. The first game of November told a tale of triumph as the Flyers found a way to overcome the New Jersey Devils. Tonight, Philadelphia looks to capitalize on that momentum against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most recently, the Maple Leafs are coming off a loss that reflects the Devils last night against the Flyers. Toronto was able to keep pace with the Washington Capitals, but lost in the overtime period after Alexander Ovechkin scored with a minute left.

Home is where the heart is for the Philadelphia Flyers, owning a 4-1 record when playing at the Wells Fargo Center this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not road warriors in the past few games, dropping three straight away games. The Flyers and the Maple Leafs will faceoff three times this season, which Toronto won the series last season. Philadelphia allows the fewest shots per game at around 28 and ranks third in the NHL with almost 35 shots a game. This benefits the Flyers because the Maple Leafs won all of their games this season when shooting more than 30 shots and allowed less than 30 shots in the majority of their losses.

Over the last ten games, the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs are split, 5-5. In the last meeting between the two teams last season, the Flyers pulled out the win in a shootout, 5-4. The plan is to pick up where they left off against the Maple Leafs when the puck drops from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 7:00 pm. On the injury report for Philadelphia is Scott Laughton with a broken finger. For Toronto, the injury report lists Zach Hyman, who is missing up to 15 games to recover from ACL surgery, and Jake Muzzin, who is listed as out due to a personal reason.

Toronto Maple Leafs – Skaters

Two players are tied for the top scorer on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Those players are Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner with 16 points. Matthews’ points mostly attribute to goals during even-strength hockey, while Marner’s points mostly consist of assists spread evenly during even-strength hockey and on special teams. 19.3% of the shots taken by Matthews light the lamp. Marner is scoring on 7.1% of the shots he takes.

The standout defenseman on the Toronto Maple Leafs is Cody Ceci. He has a +/- of six this season, which leads the defensemen on the Maple Leafs. Offensively, Ceci has contributed four points, three from assists, one goal, and all during even-strength hockey. He seems to be the player that is the most sound defensively. Through 14 games played, Ceci has tallied 22 blocked shots and dished 15 hits.

Toronto Maple Leafs – Goaltending

In ten starts this season, Frederik Andersen has been the starting goal for every win that the Toronto Maple Leafs own. Of those ten games, half of those have been quality starts. Currently, Andersen is maintaining a 90.1% save percentage and a 3.03 goal against average. Two of the four losses that Andersen has been credited with were in overtime. The Maple Leafs best goaltender is Frederik Anderson this season.

Faceoff Possession

The Philadelphia Flyers differential in the faceoff circle is just barely superior to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers are winning 56.1% of their team faceoffs. The Maple Leafs are winning 53.5% of their team faceoffs. Five players on Toronto are above 50% in the faceoff zone: Nick Shore, William Nylander, Frederik Gauthier, Auston Matthews, and Ilya Mikheyev. Six players on Philadelphia are above 50% at the faceoff circle: Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, German Rubtsov, and Oskar Lindblom.

Prediction

This is going to be a close game by two teams that are very similar records. This game has all the possibility to go down to the wire. Brian Elliott will be the starting goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight and he has similar numbers to Frederik Andersen. Elliott has started five games, three quality starts, and two awful starts. It’s either hot or cold when Elliott plays this season, no in-between. The “TLC” Line is going to have to be in full effect tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Defensively, I give the advantage to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Between the goaltenders, it looks like Frederik Andersen is slightly better. It’s not impossible that Brian Elliott to bounce back tonight, but it takes a stellar performance against a high powered offense. I disagree with starting Elliott because I saw Carter Hart bounce back into the win column in a hard-fought win. Tonight, I can see the Maple Leafs getting the win against the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm, live from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The money line favors the Toronto Maple Leafs at -130 with an over/under set at 6.5. If you like what read here, follow Philly Sports Network on Twitter at PhiladelphiaSN for more Philadelphia Flyers coverage from our awesome staff. Discuss Flyers hockey with me on Twitter at EricReesePSN.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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