It's a battle of the "Who made out better in the trade?" | Flyers @ Leafs Tonight, 7:00 >

by Michael DeNicola

Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 -

I'm hoping for something epic to happen in tonight's tilt against the Maple Leafs. Given the dramatic trade over last offseason, former Leaf, Luke Schenn, and former Flyer, James van Riemsdyk, ought to toss their mitts aside and start throwing bombs towards one another's suckhole. 

I know it won't happen, but the thought grows a little mahogany. 

Toronto's newly acquired power-forward leads his Club in goals-scored (7), while our promising, young, swinging defensive hammer has been taking care of business in Philadelphia's zone, paired up with Kimmo Timonen. 

It's a battle of the "Who made out better in the trade?"

Most butthurt Flyers fans would argue that Toronto won this trade since it's JVR who is potting pucks on more than an every-other-game basis (7-goals in 12-games played), and Philly has had difficulty tickling the twine. However, Luke's been banging bodies and complimenting Timonen's sorcery from the blue line, and -- more importantly -- Luke has done a fairly good job at keeping himself in position to make plays -- an ailment of his that's cost him the most flack from Toronto's media and fans over his tenure. 

Some hockey mathematicians may throw fancy CORSI numbers in your face to prove Luke Schenn is not a good defenseman, or to prove why he's a disappointment. But if you dig deep enough analytically, you can always come up with negative stats for any particular player on the ice. 

All you need are two functioning eyes and a perspective that's not soaked in bitter subjectivity, and you'll realize that Philadelphia's got quite the d-man wearing Orange & Black. 

Coming off a victory on Saturday, Luke Schenn spent a game-high 24-minutes and 50-seconds on the frozen pond against Carolina, recording 8-hits and 6 blocked shots. The 'Canes lead the League in shots taken per contest (36.5), and it's great seeing Luke step in front of that kind of assault. Toronto is ranked 19th in the League when it comes to shots taken per game (28.2). Versus Philadelphia's allowance of 28.8 shots on our net per game, that category is virtually a wash. 

However, it's not all about breaking the record books with the most pucks put on an opposing net. The Maple Leafs, although only averaging 28.2 shots a game, still rank 9th in the League in goals scored (2.83 G/G). Philadelphia remains in the cellar, but not too far behind Toronto, margin-wise, with 2.42 goals per game. 

So, what's this game going to come down to?


Ilya Bryzgalov stands in goal this evening, and guarding opposite of him is the third year James Reimer. Both puck-stoppers have had magnificent starts to the abbreviated season, and each have relatively the same numbers in their stat columns. 

Bryz is skating into tonight's tilt with a .921 save percentage, allowing an average of 2.21-goals against him per game in 11-starts. 

Reimer sports a .929 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average in 8-starts, 9-games played. In his last three starts, James has only allowed 4-goals (1-shutout), while his offensive support netted 12-goals.

Toronto is currently on a three game winning streak (all on the road), while the Flyers are coming off 7-points in a four game homestand. Each Club has found momentum and face each other tonight with a full head of steam. 

Our battle against the Leafs marks the first of six games in our road swing. How we fair this evening could affect how our boys clamor ahead tomorrow night, then Friday and Saturday night. Two back-to-back chunks in the schedule that could hoist us in the Top 8 of contention, or bury us beneath the Eastern Conference rubble.

Quick notes:

In their 6 - 0 win over the Montreal Canadiens, Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski took a bite out of Max Pacioretty's finger in a 3rd stanza scrum. Grabovski's disciplinary phone call from Brendan Shanahan happened around 11:00 this morning, however we do not know yet if Mikhail will receive any suspension for his act of cannibalism. If he receives one or more games (abiding by the NHL's Wheel of Justice), that suspension would begin tonight versus Philadelphia. 

James van Riemsdyk on tonight's game against his former squad; "I’ve always said in the past that when I’m given the opportunity to be a key contributor, I’ve held up my end of the bargain and was a productive player. For whatever reason, over the last year, with injuries, those types of things got in the way. 

"But I always knew that I had confidence in myself and when given the opportunity that I would make the most of it. I had some great years and some great memories in Philadelphia, but that’s all in the past now and it’s time to focus on what’s ahead."

Luke Schenn's two cents; "It's probably going to be a different feeling out there, being on the visiting team side of the ice and visiting team locker room and bench, but I'm looking forward to it. It's a fresh start in Philadelphia, but a lot of great memories here in Toronto and I really enjoyed my four years here."

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun published his NHL Power Rankings for the week, and the Flyers have taken twelve steps up the echelon from 25th last week, to ranked 13th this week. 

Pierre's reasoning; "The Flyers have picked up seven of eight points in their last four games, just in time before they embark on a six-game road trip that begins Monday at Toronto."

And also, one more thing --

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