Thanks to a recent stretch of strong play, the Philadelphia Flyers have put themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Flyers now take on the team directly ahead of them as they head north of the border Saturday night to face off with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night In Canada (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET).
Philadelphia (33-24-6) has won three straight and seven of eight, climbing to second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers stand fifth in the East, two points behind fourth-place Toronto (33-23-8), but only three clear of being out of playoff position.
Captain Claude Giroux has keyed their recent success, recording eight goals and nine assists over the past 10 games.
Leafs' Clarkson questionable with pulled muscle
David Clarkson is questionable for the Toronto Maple Leafs' game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night because of a pulled muscle, coach Randy Carlyle said.
Clarkson left the morning skate just a few minutes after stepping on to the ice.
If the veteran winger can't play, Carlyle said recalling a player is an option, along with dressing 11 forwards and seven defencemen.
Clarkson has four goals and six assists in 43 games for Toronto after starting the season with a 10-game suspension.
Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf is set to play despite not practising Friday. Phaneuf said down the stretch drive it was important to find time to rest some "bumps and bruises."
The Leafs are still without centre Dave Bolland, who is skating to try to build strength back up in his ankle. Carlyle said he hoped Bolland and injured tough guy Colton Orr would be ready to play at some point on the upcoming road trip but did not know for sure.
- The Canadian Press
Giroux had two goals and an assist in both games of Philadelphia's home-and-home sweep of Washington, capped by Wednesday's 6-4 victory. Jakub Voracek had scored only once in 12 games before getting three goals during that sweep along with two assists.
Philadelphia is 17-2-1 when Giroux scores and 10-2-2 when Voracek does.
"They're the leaders of this team," goalie Steve Mason said. "When they are going, everybody follows."
Andrew MacDonald contributed an assist Wednesday in his Flyers debut after being acquired from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline. Philadelphia is hoping the sixth-year blueliner can shore up a defense that has been struggling, allowing 17 goals in the last four games.
The Flyers could have their hands full again defensively against a Maple Leafs team which ranks in the top-third of the NHL in goals scored.
"They move well, they skate really well and they make some really good plays out there," MacDonald said of Toronto's attack. "We have to play well defensively, all five guys."
Toronto snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday, beating the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime on Tyler Bozak's second goal of the game.
However, the Maple Leafs' power-play drought reached seven games. They're 3-2-2 in that span following a 9-1-1 stretch during which they had 11 goals with the man advantage.
Toronto remains among the league leaders on the power play, scoring on 21.0 percent of its chances.
"There's been a few turnovers here and there. We've been doing the same things we have been, we just have to be a little bit smarter with the puck," Bozak said of the power-play issues. "We haven't been getting the bounces we were getting earlier in the year. That's something we can easily fix."
The Flyers are among the league's best penalty-killing teams on the road at 15.5 percent, but they did give up three power-play goals at home Wednesday.
The Maple Leafs won the only previous meeting between the teams this season, 3-1 in Philadelphia on Oct. 2.
The Flyers, though, have won six of seven in Toronto, and Mason has won his two career starts there.