With their developing pack mentality, Maple Leafs can’t afford to let the Philadelphia Flyers dictate the way Monday night’s game will be played.
Like 23 Musketeers, the Leafs were one for all and all for one in whipping the Montreal Canadiens 6-0 on Saturday.
Captain Dion Phaneuf says they must play the same way on Monday if they’re to exorcise the home-ice demons. Toronto has only won once in five games at the Air Canada Centre while going 6-1 on the road.
“Montreal showed that we stick together as a group. Teams are going to try and push, and we’re going to try and push back. We’ve got a tight group,” said Phaneuf, who scored his first goal of the season in Montreal. “We want to play hard for each and every guy, the guy who sits next to you in the locker room.
“We have to build on what we’ve been doing.”
The Leafs have won three straight, all on the road, while the Flyers play their first game of a six-game road trip. They recently earned seven of a possible eight points at home, but are 1-5 on the road.
It looks as if James Reimer will start in goal. Centre Mikhail Grabovski, who didn’t skate on Monday because of an NHL disciplinary hearing, could miss the Flyers game if he’s suspended for allegedly biting Montreal forward Max Pacioretty during a fight scrum in Saturday’s game.
As for their pack mentality, Leaf coach Randy Carlyle says it’s still a work in progress.
“Every game is a challenge,” Carlyle said. “We’re still trying to develop that mentality.
“It’s not all about fighting. It’s working hard and dominating down low and carrying the puck and taking a check to make a play. That’s the part that’s most intriguing for us. That’s what we focus on. The other stuff is a sidebar.
“There are emotional points in a game that get ramped up and taken to another level. We want to make sure that we’re comfortable going into any building.”