Flyers expect a rough time

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:45 PM ET


 Mark Recchi and the Philadelphia Flyers have had a relatively easy time with the Maple Leafs in the recent past but they don't expect the same starting tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center.

 "Toronto is a veteran team and has four lines that play gritty," Recchi told reporters after practice yesterday. "No one changed more than Toronto did at the (trade) deadline. They picked up a couple of key guys. You have to be impressed with the way they have played with their injuries."

 The Leafs still were dripping sweat from their Game 7 victory against the Ottawa Senators when the topic turned to facing the Flyers. Etched in the Leafs' collective memory is a Game 7 collapse in Philly last April. Oh, and the Leafs were outscored 17-5 in four games by the Flyers this season as Philadelphia won three times.

 "Stats don't lie," Tom Fitzgerald said. "We know we are in for another tough series. There is no secret to the success of the Flyers. They are big, they are strong, they are quick and they have some offensive flair. They're well-coached and they are disciplined."

 In the final regular-season meeting between the teams, the Flyers got a close-up look at defenceman Brian Leetch, the chief pre-deadline acquisition for the Leafs. Leetch scored two goals in a 3-2 Toronto triumph in Philly.

 The hulking Flyers forwards, led by Keith Primeau, were excellent against Toronto last spring, and had their physical way with the Leafs defencemen. Whether the Leafs can handle the forecheck in this series is highly debatable.

 Flyers defenceman Kim Johnsson has a broken bone in his right hand and is hoping to play in Game 1. Defenceman Eric Desjardins is out with a broken arm and defenceman Dennis Seidenberg (leg) could be back at some point. Forward Sami Kapanen is practising as a defenceman.

 "For them to beat New Jersey in five games (in the first round), they are doing a lot of things well," Ron Francis said. "I imagine it will be very similar (to the Ottawa series). Very tight ckecking. We have to be solid in our end, and bury our opportunities when we get them."


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