When the Philadelphia Flyers travel to the Great White North to square off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, both teams will be battling to get into playoff contention.
There is a long history between these two teams dating back to the inception of the Flyers in the late '60s. But the fact that these franchises made a huge offseason trade and this will be the first time each new piece squares off against his old team will be the main focus of the game.
Philadelphia sent former No. 2 overall pick James van Riemsdyk to Toronto for former No. 5 overall pick Luke Schenn. The deal was fair to both sides on paper, and as the season has progressed, each player has started to thrive with his new club.
With so many underlying storylines in this matchup—as well as the trade rumors that always tend to follow both organizations—Monday’s game between the Flyers and Maple Leafs will be a highlight of the lockout-shortened NHL season.
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
When: Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: CSN (Philly), RSNONT (Toronto)
Live Stream: NHL GameCenter
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Andrej Meszaros, D, Out until late February
Scott Hartnell, LW, Out indefinitely
Marc-Andre Bourdon, D, Out indefinitely
Chris Pronger, D, Out indefinitely
Carl Gunnarsson, D, Questionable
Mike Brown, RW, Questionable
Joffrey Lupul, LW, Out until mid-March
Flyers Player to Watch: Luke Schenn, D
The long-term loss of Chris Pronger has hurt the Philadelphia Flyers over the last two seasons, but the acquisition of 23-year-old defensive prospect Luke Schenn has softened the blow.
Schenn is a great defenseman who has started to flourish with the injury to veteran Andrej Meszaros. Monday marks the first time the former Maple Leaf returns to Toronto.
The young defender is a checking machine who loves to disrupt the action with his body. Physical play usually rubs opponents the wrong way and hockey fans could see Schenn dropping the gloves against his former teammates.
Maple Leafs Player to Watch: James van Riemsdyk, LW
While the Philadelphia Flyers received Luke Schenn in the deal with Toronto, the Maple Leafs snagged former No. 2 overall pick and left winger James van Riemsdyk.
Toronto had a serious need for a strong, young forward who could create plays for his teammates and still put the puck in the net from close range. Van Riemsdyk is the power forward that the Maple Leafs have been looking to find for years.
Van Riemsdyk has nine points so far this season (seven goals and two assists) and has flourished into the goal scorer Toronto hoped it had acquired. With Philadelphia coming to town, expect JVR to be even more willing to charge the net against his former team.
Prediction: Philadelphia 4, Toronto 3
As well as Toronto has played over the last week—winning three consecutive games coming into Monday’s matchup—the Philadelphia Flyers are starting to find their rhythm as a cohesive unit.
Philadelphia has won three of its last four games and the team is finally starting to play up to its talent level. A matchup against an inferior Maple Leafs team will be the recipe for success moving forward for the Flyers.