October 24, 2011
Leafs look for quick startFace Flyers with Monster in net
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
PHILADELPHIA -- Remember when the mere mention of playing a road game against the Flyers brought softer NHL teams to their knees?
That hasn’t been the case early in this NHL season as the retooled Flyers have struggled to a 1-2-1 record here at the Wells Fargo Center.
All the more reason Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson is expecting a feisty opponent Monday night as his team plays the third of a four-game road trip.
“Our starts at home haven’t been great, our first 20 minutes have been absolutely awful,” Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. “We haven’t been getting our feet going.
“Tonight, against a fast-skating, puck-moving team, we’re going to have to be spot on and have a good start.”
It’s not as if the Leafs have been quick out of the gate as they’ve built their 5-1-1 record, something Wilson would like to change starting tonight.
“We have to establish our forecheck early in the game and not turn pucks over in the neutral zone,” Wilson said. “If we’re playing on our toes, we can accomplish that. If we’re on our heels, then it’s a struggle.
“Get on our toes and push the puck forward.”
The Leafs will also be looking for a stronger effort in front of Jonas Gustavsson, who was left to the wolves when the Leafs were shelled 6-2 by Boston last Thursday.
Gustavsson, who also came on in relief of James Reimer on Saturday in Montreal, will be seeing game action for the third consecutive night.
Wilson said Reimer is “almost 100%” and is expected to be back at work on Thursday when the Leafs face the Rangers in New York.
“I don’t know if it’s nervousnous or excited, but you definitely feel something,” Gustavsson said. “For me, that’s a good thing. It means you are getting ready and getting focused.
“Getting a win (Saturday) was nice, it was a long time for me. If I can keep building on that I’ll get more confidence.”
The Leafs recalled Ben Scrivens from the AHL Marlies on an emergency basis to back up Gustavsson.
As for other injuries, centre Tyler Bozak continues to nurse a sore foot and will be a game-time decision.
The Flyers will also go with their backup goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky.
The other big story line surrounding Monday’s contest is that it will be the first regular-season NHL meeting between the Schenn brothers -- Toronto defenceman Luke and Philly forward Brayden.
Schenn’s parents and two younger sisters have made the trip from Saskatchewan to root them on.
“One of my sisters will wear a Flyers sweater and the other one will be Leafs,” Luke Schenn said.