From The Star
WELLS FARGO CENTER
Puck drop: 7 p.m.
Radio: Sportsnet 590 The Fan
Key matchup:Claude Giroux vs. Matt Hunwick.
Flyers captain Giroux has been a large part of his team’s resurgence over the past two months. He scored in regulation and in the shootout Sunday to help Philadelphia defeat Detroit 2-1. Along with his outstanding offence, he is excellent on the faceoff dot, and will present a big challenge for Hunwick as the Leafs try and snap a five-game winless streak.
On the outside: Philly was eight points out of a playoff spot on Nov. 25 with no games in hand against the teams they were chasing. But now, with wins in five of their last six games, the Flyers are three points behind Boston for the top wild-card spot. They had a damaging 1-6-2 run earlier in the season but are 15-7-4 since. Philadelphia won in the shootout over Detroit but are an NHL worst 32-66 in the shootout since the NHL adopted the tie-breaker in 2005. They are 12-2-8 in one goal games so far this season.
Between the pipes: Goaltender Michael Neuvirth had 29 saves against Detroit Sunday in his first game action since Jan. 5. He improved his league-leading save percentage to .936 and is seventh in GAA at 2.05.
Welcome back: Rookie defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere returned to the lineup Sunday — was out with a suspected groin injury — and took over his old spot on the top pairing for the Flyers’ power play. Gostisbehere has been an integral part of the team’s success and should get mention in the NHL rookie of the year race.
Up next: Thursday vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7:30 pm, Sportsnet.