Toronto (31-30-10) at Philadelphia (35-26-9)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EDT Wed Mar 12, 2008
  • TV: TSN, CSP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t letting many teams get in their way of returning to the playoffs, especially not the club they’re chasing for the final spot in the Eastern Conference.

Led by red-hot captain Mats Sundin, the Maple Leafs look to sweep their home-and-home set with the Philadelphia Flyers when the teams meet on Wednesday at Wachovia Center.

Toronto (31-30-10) is currently tied with Washington and Florida for 10th in the conference, seven points behind Philadelphia (35-26-9) for the final playoff spot with 11 games remaining.

The Maple Leafs, hoping to avoid missing the playoffs in three straight seasons for the first time in 80 years, are 8-3-1 in their last 12 games and Sundin has played the biggest part in that success.

Sundin has eight goals and 10 assists in those 12 contests, including eight goals and eight assists during a season-high nine-game point streak. He has also been very productive against the Flyers recently, tallying eight goals and six assists during a 10-game streak versus them.

Sundin scored one goal and set up another, and Toronto rallied from a three-goal deficit in the third period before Pavel Kubina’s second goal of the game 4:04 into overtime Tuesday lifted the Leafs to a wild 4-3 victory.

“We’re alive,” Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said.

Vesa Toskala made 23 saves for Toronto, which is 4-0-1 in its last five road games.

“I liked the courage we showed and the character in coming back like that,” Sundin said.

The Flyers, meanwhile, failed to record their third straight victory and fell to 5-1-2 since matching a franchise record with 10 straight losses from Feb. 6-23.

Defenseman Braydon Coburn had a goal and an assist, while Vaclav Prospal and R.J. Umberger set up two goals apiece for the Flyers, who hope to reach the postseason for the 12th time in 13 seasons after missing out in 2006-07.

“We just played with way too much panic in our game,” said Flyers coach John Stevens, whose team was outshot 55-25. “You have to have the courage to play. You have to have the courage to take people on 1-on-1. You have to have the courage to play a hockey game.

“To go out there and play panicky like we did tonight, throwing the puck away and not moving our feet, it was ridiculous.”

Martin Biron made a career-high 51 saves, dropping to 3-1-2 with a 2.76 goals-against average in his last six starts against the Maple Leafs.

“They kept putting pressure on us, kept taking chances, and it paid off for them at a key time in the game,” said Biron, who is 5-1-2 with a 2.23 GAA in his last eight overall games. “That pressure made it hard for us to do a lot of the little things.”

The Flyers lost to the Maple Leafs for the first time in three games this season, but can still win the season series for the first time since going 3-1-0 against them in 2003-04.

Philadelphia, which has won three of four overall at home, has beaten Toronto just once in the last six meetings there - a 4-1 victory on Dec. 27.

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Wednesday, Mar 12