(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will get a big boost to their lineup tonight, as captain Dion Phaneuf returns for the first time since suffering a deep laceration to his left leg against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 2.
The Leafs also expect to have goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere back in the lineup as they host the Philadelphia Flyers, a game you can catch right here on TSN, beginning at 7pm et/4pm pt.
Toronto could have used Phaneuf's 6-foot-3 frame to slow down the Penguins on Thursday. Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski had the Toronto goals and Jonas Gustavsson gave up all five goals on 26 shots in defeat, the Leafs' fifth in seven games.
"The turning point of the game -- they were outshooting us 20 to five or six," head coach Ron Wilson said of the second period. "I don't think that was the turning point of the game. The turning point of the game was the opening faceoff."
Phaneuf has four assists in 11 games this season with a minus-6 rating. Without him in the lineup, the Leafs have won just five times in 16 games.
After missing Monday's game versus Washington with a groin injury, Giguere backed up Gustavsson last night and could get the start tonight. Giguere, who missed six games in late November with the groin issue, is 2-5-1 with a tie and 3.70 GAA versus the Flyers, but did allow all five goals on 40 shots in the earlier loss.
After dropping a third straight shootout last night, Philadelphia hopes for a quick turnaround and a fourth straight victory over Toronto in tonight's meeting at Air Canada Centre.
Three of the Flyers' last six games have gone to a shootout, including last night's 5-4 setback to the Sharks. Scott Hartnell's goal, his first in 11 games, 6:15 into the third period gave the Flyers a three-goal lead, but San Jose got the next three tallies to force overtime.
The game then went to the breakaway session and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed goals to both San Jose skaters he faced, while Danny Briere and Claude Giroux failed on their attempts.
Philadelphia had thought it won it on a Mike Richards goal as time expired in overtime, but replay showed the puck did not cross the goal line before the clock hit all zeros.
Giroux and Ville Leino both had a goal and an assist and Bobrovsky made 29 saves as the Flyers fell to 2-1-3 in their last six games. Giroux picked up his 100th career point, while Jeff Carter added the 300th point of his career with an assist.
"We've got to win these games," said Bobrovsky. "We've got to play smarter in those situations when we have a late lead. We weren't ready to win that game and it showed. That's a good team they have over there."
Philadelphia has outscored Toronto 10-3 over its current series winning streak and has netted 24 goals in winning five of the last six meetings. The Flyers have lost four of five and six of their last eight at ACC, however.
Richards had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 home victory over the Maple Leafs on Oct. 23, while Brian Boucher faced just 14 shots and stopped 12 of them. He is 5-2-0 with a tie and 1.73 goals-against average lifetime when facing the Leafs and could get the call tonight over Bobrovsky, who has never faced Toronto.
Richards has eight goals and 13 points in 18 career games versus Toronto.