|Leafs, Flyers both slumping entering key matchup|
The Philadelphia Flyers will look to quickly rebound from a loss at home to the Washington Capitals when they travel north to visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
The Flyers remain in contention for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, but they're five points out of the final spot.
Philadelphia struggled against the Capitals in a 5-2 loss Thursday. Scott Laughton and James van Riemsdyk each scored, but the Capitals answered van Riemsdyk's second-period goal with two goals in 65 seconds for a 4-1 lead and the Flyers never recovered.
"We made too many mistakes and they ended up in the back of the net," Laughton told reporters after the game. "It's hard to come back from that."
Rookie goaltender Carter Hart received his first start in three weeks and made 27 saves, though interim head coach Scott Gordon has intimated that Brian Elliott will be in the net against the Maple Leafs.
The Flyers will also receive a boost with the return of forward Jake Voracek from a two-game suspension.
"I don't want go into the 'war' through the media," Voracek told reporters about his suspension and his hit on the New York Islanders' Johnny Boychuk that drew the suspension. "It was a hockey game, it was the heat of the moment. But we're five points out of a playoff spot and we should be more focused on that than my comments on (Boychuk)."
Philadelphia will need some offensive infusion as it went 0 for 4 on the power the Capitals. The Flyers are 0 for 12 with the man advantage over the last five games.
The Flyers are 6-5-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season, but have been outscored, 41-29.
The Maple Leafs fell 5-4 at home to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, giving up the first five goals before nearly battling all the way back.
This loss, the Maple Leafs' second straight, followed a 6-2 defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning -- a team far superior to the Blackhawks throughout the season.
"We just weren't ready to play again, came out flat-footed," Toronto's Auston Matthews told reporters of the game against Chicago. "They're hungry, they're fighting for a playoff spot."
Matthews, Morgan Rielly, Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares each scored while William Nylander and Mitch Marner had two assists apiece. But too many turnovers led to early Chicago goals and the Maple Leafs were never able to recover.
Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 14 shots in the first period and was replaced by Garret Sparks, who finished admirably with 24 saves.
This was the first time the Maple Leafs have given up four goals in a period this season, and the first time it has transpired in the first period of a home game since Dec. 23, 2008.
The Maple Leafs have been besieged by injuries all season and played without key players against Chicago such as forward Zach Hyman (flu) and defensemen Jake Gardiner (back) and Travis Dermott (shoulder).
"We can't think about injuries, we've had years in the past where we were very fortunate with them," Toronto Rielly told reporters. "You just look at who's available, go out there and motivate each other. We keep on saying that playoffs are around the corner and we have to get in playoff mode, but we have to (really) do it. There's no reason not to be urgent, prepared and hungry at this time of year."
--Field Level Media