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It's Schenn v. Schenn and Kessel v. Kessel

It's really not all that uncommon to have two brothers face one another in an NHL game, not with three Staals, two Koivus, two Kostitsyns, two Millers, two Stewarts, two Pyatts, two O'Reillys and two Michaleks all on different teams in the league.

What's rare is two sets of brothers, both on different teams, all coming together in the same game.

Tonight in Toronto, the Maple Leafs will dress Phil Kessel and Luke Schenn in order to get them into the preseason lineup against their brothers, Philadelphia Flyers prospects Blake Kessel and Brayden Schenn, in a situation that's creating a bit of a stir leading up to the game.

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Leafs coach Ron Wilson said Schenn requested before the season started that he be allowed to play in this game.

"He was texting, calling me all day, to find out if I'd heard [if I was playing]" Luke Schenn said of his younger brother, who he faced once in the WHL four years ago when they were 18 and 16. "Even though it's an exhibition game, there's no question it's a dream come true."

"It's the first time I'm playing him, so it should be fun," Phil Kessel said. "I'm excited, actually."

While the Leafs' Kessel and Schenn are well established young NHLers, both Brayden Schenn and Blake Kessel are attempting to make the Flyers.

Brayden Schenn is expected to be part of the Flyers youth movement this season after coming over from the Los Angeles Kings in the Mike Richards trade, while Blake Kessel signed as a free agent last week and will likely play in the minors.

The two sets of brothers both play different positions from their siblings, which may mean Phil Kessel is going in on his younger brother trying to score for the Leafs and Brayden Schenn is doing the same for the Flyers.

"He's actually really good," Phil Kessel said of his brother. "We skate together in the summer so it'd be tough to even get around him. I don't know if that's going to be happening. I'd like him to play well here tonight. He's one of my best friends so I hope he does great out there and has a good game."

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"Hopefully being the big brother, I'll be able to shut him down," Luke Schenn said of Brayden. "I know he'll be going hard. It's a big exhibition game for him, he obviously wants to make the team. It's going to be a great opportunity there. It's a pretty neat situation for our family and friends. There'll be a lot of people excited to watch this."

The Schenns' mother has even gotten involved to ensure the pair don't go too hard on one another.

"She's warned us," Luke Schenn said. "There's no fighting allowed."

Wilson said that having all these brothers in the same game is a first for him, after coaching 1,337 regular season games and plenty more preseason and playoff ones in the NHL.

"That should be interesting," Wilson said. "We were talking about that earlier in the morning ... I always played on the same teams as my brothers. Coached Wayne Primeau, so he played a number of times and I know somewhere along the line he had a fight with his brother [Keith] At least one.

"Occasionally brothers do get in scraps out there, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not ... Probably be hard on the Schenn and Kessel moms tonight if they get a chance to watch the game.

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"The bad part is Phil's brother is a lot bigger than he is, so I don't think he's going to start a scrap. Luke I believe on the other hand is bigger than his brother so should be interesting to see what happens. I can't imagine that happening but you never know. I think some of our players are telling Phil they're going to hit his brother and see what happens."

So there's one storyline to keep an eye on in an otherwise relatively meaningless preseason game.

Here's the Leafs full lineup tonight:

Lupul - Connolly - Kessel MacArthur - Colborne - Mueller Kadri - Boyce - Caputi Scott - Zigomanis - Orr

Finger - Schenn Franson - Komisarek Gysbers - Blacker

And James Reimer will play the full game in goal.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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