Flyers Look to Win Three Straight; Host Florida
Philadelphia Flyers (4-6-0) vs. Florida Panthers (3-5-1)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, PA
7:00 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage:
The Flyers are coming off a huge 2-1 win against the Lightning, which was their second straight win. They beat Florida back on January 26 with a convincing 7-1 victory in which Matt Read scored his first career hat trick.
The Panthers are struggling early on in the season, having lost six of their last eight games including a 3-2 loss to Winnipeg in overtime on Tuesday. Injuries are still hampering the Panthers, who will be without Scottie Upshall and Alex Kovalev.
The Flyers are 3-1-0 at home, having won their last three home games. Their only road win was in Florida. The Panthers are 1-3-1 on the road.
What to Expect:
The Flyers are near the bottom in scoring in the NHL with 2.3 goals per game. Fortunately for the Flyers, the Panthers have allowed 3.67 goals per game, which is near the bottom of the NHL. If they want to climb out of their scoring funk, another game against the Panthers is just what the doctor ordered.
Thomas Fleischmann is their leading scorer with three goals and five assists. Brian Campbell and Peter Mueller each have a team-high four goals.
Claude Giroux and Matt Read each have three goals. Read's four assists gives him seven points, most on the Flyers. Read, Kimmo Timonen, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek each have a team-high four assists.
The Masked Men:
Ilya Bryzgalov will be in net once again for the Flyers. He is coming off of a dominant 21-save performance on Tuesday, improving his record to 4-5-0. His 2.24 GAA and .923 save percentage have been impressive early in the season. He dominates Florida, going 5-1-1 with a 1.40 GAA and .948 save percentage.
The Panthers will be starting Jose Theodore. Theodore didn't do well in his last outing against the Flyers, being chased after allowing three goals in the first period. He has struggled since that game, seeing his GAA balloon up to a 3.32 and his saver percentage drop to a .896.
Keys to the Game:
1. Keep winning. They Flyers played a great game on Tuesday, out-shooting and out-working Tampa Bay. Their 2-1 win was preserved by Ilya Bryzgalov and some timely scoring from unexpected help.
2. Sestito. Tom Sestito isn't expected to put up another two-goal performance, but he certainly is expected to continue to play smart offensively. He has good hands, especially for his size, and he should be able to utilize that on the forecheck when his fourth line is on the ice.
3. Powerplay. It's still a mess. The powerplay has climbed up to 17.8%, which puts them in the middle of the league at 16th place. But they still need to finish their scoring chances. They are moving the puck well and waiting patiently for lanes, but when a shot is fired, they need bodies in front of the net to put home the garbage rebound. That is why they got Mike Knuble and that is a role they want to see Tye McGinn take up when playing with the top line.
"Our defensemen did a good job with sticks on pucks and eliminating gaps. Our forwards did a good job reloading and coming back hard to our end. We blocked a lot of shots tonight and cleaned up the front of the net."
- Peter Laviolette on the Flyers 2-1 win over Tampa Bay.