Flyers-Maple Leafs: 5 things you need to know

Flyers-Maple Leafs: 5 things you need to know

October 2, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Scott Hartnell and the Flyers open their regular-season slate against Dion Phaneuf and the Maple Leafs. (AP)

Now the games matter.

The Flyers will put a disappointing 1-5-1 preseason in their rear-view mirror and begin their 2013-14 campaign with a matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs (1-0) at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.

With puck drop set for 7:30 p.m. on CSN, here are five things you need to know about the Flyers' season opener:

1) A healthy bunch
The Flyers, who missed the playoffs for just the second time in 18 seasons last year, enter this year with a healthy group.

Jakub Voracek -- the team's top goal scorer from last season -- injured his lower back last week after being taken down on a breakaway during a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils but is optimistic he'll play in the opener.

When asked Monday after practice if there was any doubt that he'd miss the opener, Voracek replied, "I don't think so. If I feel the same way I felt today, I should be ready for Wednesday."

Other than Voracek, the Flyers don't have any additional injury concerns.

Claude Giroux sustained an injury to his finger in a freak golfing accident earlier this offseason that was expected to keep him out of the preseason, but the Flyers' captain appeared in two exhibition games and is good to go Wednesday.

2) Debuting Flyers
Vincent Lecavalier and Mark Streit will make their regular-season debuts for the orange and black against the Leafs, who will be playing their second game in as many nights.

Lecavalier signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Flyers on July 2, less than a week after being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning.  

In 14 seasons with the Lightning, Lecavalier posted 383 goals and 491 assists in 1,037 games played.

Streit, who was an unrestricted free agent entering the summer of 2013, had his rights traded from the New York Islanders to the Flyers on June 12. Later that month, the defenseman agreed to a four-year, $21 million deal with the Flyers.

In 491 career games between the Islanders and Montreal Canadiens, Streit has accumulated 65 goals and 223 assists.

3) No Clarkson
One familiar face who will not be playing on Wednesday is former Devils forward David Clarkson.

Clarkson received an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the Leafs' bench during an altercation in a preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept. 22.

So Clarkson, Toronto's prized free-agent signing this past summer, will not suit up in white and blue until Oct. 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Clarkson spent his first seven seasons in the NHL with New Jersey before signing a seven-year, $36.75 million deal with the Leafs in July.

Clarkson is known for giving the Flyers fits. He has registered six goals, nine assists and 98 penalty minutes in 34 career games against the orange and black.

The Flyers, however, won't have to deal with the gritty forward until March 8 at the Air Canada Centre.

4) Connections
Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk played three seasons with the Flyers before being traded to Toronto on June 23, 2012 for defenseman Luke Schenn.

Fellow forward Joffrey Lupul also spent time with the Flyers. He registered 45 goals and 51 assists in two seasons for the orange and black before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks as part of the deal that brought Chris Pronger to Philly in 2009.

Flyers tough guy Jay Rosehill began his NHL career with the Leafs. He collected 198 penalty minutes in parts of three seasons in Toronto.

5) This and that
• Wednesday will mark the first of three meetings between the Flyers and Leafs this season. Toronto took the season series (2-1) in 2013, outscoring the Flyers 12-9 in the process.

• Rosehill collected the game-winning goal in the Flyers' only victory over the Leafs last season.

• Voracek, statistically, was the best Flyer against Toronto in three games last year. He potted two goals and added an assist while averaging over 18 minutes per game.

• Nikolai Kulemin (two goals, two assists) and Nazem Kadri (four assists) led the Leafs in scoring against the Flyers in 2013. Captain Dion Phaneuf had a goal and two assists while van Riemsdyk netted two markers against his former club.

• The Flyers will play eight of their first 12 games at the Wells Fargo Center.