|Flyers to raise Lindros' No. 88 before game vs. Leafs|
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers can't afford many more clunkers like the one they had Tuesday night in a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers that snapped a four-game win streak.
"We've played really good hockey, and you're going to have nights where, quite frankly, you're not very good," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told the Philadelphia Inquirer ahead of Thursday night's home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. "You can't have many of them. ... We have to flip the page pretty quick and go back to it Thursday night at home."
Perhaps the raising of Eric Lindros' No. 88 will help put the Flyers in a fighting spirit. Before the game, the 44-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer will see his number retired, joining the likes of Bernie Parent (No. 1), Mark Howe (No. 2), Barry Ashbee (No. 4), Bill Barber (No. 7) and Bobby Clarke (No. 16).
The Flyers (20-16-8) are battling for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference standings and could set the tone by inserting rambunctious rookie Tyrell Goulbourne into the lineup. The Flyers had won each of the previous games in which Goulbourne played but were thumped in New York when he was a healthy scratch.
If Goulbourne returns, he could replace Taylor Leier or Jori Lehtonen.
Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning struggled against the Rangers, allowing two breakaway goals, that could open the door for rookie Travis Sanheim to return to the lineup. However, Manning played one of his best games of the season against the Maple Leafs, delivering a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win in October. He remained one of the Flyers' top six defensemen at practice on Wednesday.
The Flyers also posted a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs in December.
The Flyers' sixth-ranked power play went 7 of 14 during the team's four-game win streak but looked out of sync while going 0 of 3 in New York.
Look for goaltender Brian Elliott to make his 19th start in 20 games. He was pulled after allowing five goals in two periods Tuesday night.
"I'm going to go back to work and try to feel good about my game," Elliott said. "I didn't really give ourselves a chance to win, and I have to own a lot of that."
Toronto is coming off Tuesday night's 2-1 home overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues, its first game after a bye week and its third one-goal loss in a row.
A short-handed goal by Connor Brown midway through the third period gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead, but goaltender Frederik Anderson allowed the game-tying goal with 57 seconds remaining in regulation and the game-winner 1:43 into overtime.
"I don't know if it's a learning experience," center Auston Matthews told the Toronto Sun. "We had enough of that last year. We have to find a way to win because this game should have definitely been our two points and we let it slip away."
The Leafs (25-17-4) went 2-2-2 on their homestand and will play six of their next eight games on the road.
Anderson is expected to get the start in Philadelphia after stopping 40 shots against the Blues.
The Leafs have seen opponents either tie the game or take the lead in the final period in each of their last three games.
"It's getting (closer) to playoff time and teams are tightening up and getting ready for that," Leafs forward Mitch Marner said. "It's a lot different than the start of the season. There's no space and you have to adjust to it."
Toronto coach Mike Babcock may consider moving Brown, who has 11 goals, from the fourth to the top line.
Top liners Nazim Kadri has one goal in his last 17 games. Leo Komarov has one goal in his last 20, and Patrick Marleau has two in his last 10.
Brown has been playing alongside Frederik Gauthier and Matt Martin.