Leafs to start Gustavsson at Philadelphia

Jonas Gustavsson is likely to start in net ahead of injured incumbent James Reimer as the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday.
Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, right, foils forward Travis Moen in a 5-4 overtime win at Montreal last Saturday. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

While the Philadelphia Flyers have struggled after a strong start, the Toronto Maple Leafs have kept theirs going.

Toronto, though, hasn't fared very well against Philadelphia over the past few years.

The Flyers look to get back on track as they seek their eighth win in 10 tries over Toronto on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Toronto won the last meeting in Philadelphia 3-2 on March 3, but was outscored 26-11 in losing the previous five games there.

The Flyers have outscored the Leafs 33-20 in winning seven of nine in the series overall.

Philadelphia (4-2-1) has been outscored 9-4 in dropping the first two games of a three-game homestand, including a 4-2 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.

The Leafs (5-1-1) overcame three one-goal deficits, despite losing starting goaltender James Reimer after a first-period collision with the Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, to beat Montreal 5-4 in overtime Saturday.

Jonas Gustavsson made 15 saves to help secure the win and he'll likely get another shot in net Monday. Reimer is suffering whiplash effects and, according to head coach Ron Wilson, won't dress against the Flyers.

Gustavsson allowed six goals in his only career start against the Flyers.

"No matter what, you always have to be ready," Gustavsson said. "It could happen at any time, so you always try to be ready."

Phil Kessel tied Pittsburgh's James Neal for the NHL lead in scoring with his eighth goal, while David Steckel, Dion Phaneuf and Nikolai Kulemin also scored before Kessel assisted on Mikhail Grabovski's OT winner.

Kessel leads the league with 14 points, though he's struggled against Philadelphia throughout his career. He has one goal and five assists in 18 games versus the Flyers, going scoreless with a minus-3 rating in his last three.

Danny Briere, who had a goal and an assist in Philadelphia's loss Saturday, has 14 goals and 18 assists while earning at least one point in 21 of his last 25 games against the Leafs.

Ilya Bryzgalov went 3-0-1 with a 1.99 goals-against average in his first four games, but he has a 4.59 GAA over the last two as his defence hasn't often seemed to be on the same page.

Captain Chris Pronger lauded Bryzgalov and said the Flyers must help their goaltender, who is still adjusting to his new team after coming over from Phoenix in the off-season.

"We need to talk to him [and], first and foremost, you have to talk on the ice, let him know where you are, where you want [the puck]," Pronger told the team's official website.

"We do stuff like this in practice all the time. You have to work at it.

"We've got to do a better job at communicating with him. He's stopping the puck for us."

Still, Pronger said the Flyers, who are just 1-2-1 at home, aren't going to panic despite back-to-back losses.

"Well, we're only seven games in," said Pronger, who has a goal and seven assists in his last seven games against the Leafs.

"We need to do things better. We knew it would be a work in progress.

"We have a lot of new faces and you're not going to go 82-0."

It is unclear if Bryzgalov will start Monday, but he's 4-0-0 with a 1.55 GAA in five career appearances versus Toronto.