Banged Up Flyers Face Florida Panthers Leading Into The All-Star Break
Larry DAngelo on Tue, 2012-01-24 10:19
The Philadelphia Flyers (28-14-5) head down to Florida to face the Florida Panthers tonight in what will be their last game before the All-Star break.
The break could not come soon enough for the Flyers as several players have been banged up recently and the seven days off should give some of these players time to heal physically and mentally.
The Flyers are coming off a hard fought 6-5 overtime shoot-out loss to the Boston Bruins and will look to turn that around tonight against the Panthers.
Florida is coming off an overtime shoot-out game of their own. The Panthers would fare much better as they emerged with a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
This is the second of four meetings between these two teams this season. The Flyers took the first matchup in Florida 3-2.
Matt Read ended up with the eventual game winner, his goal came on a short-handed penalty shot, his first in the NHL. Ilya Bryzgalov would get the victory stopping 31 of 33 shots fired his way earning him second star of the game.
At the time that was Bryzgalov's fourth win in five starts. Things are a bit different now as Bryzgalov has struggled more often and is currently fighting the puck while searching for his confidence.
He is 4-5-2 with a 3.48 goals against in his last eleven starts but is 3-0-1 with a 1.86 goals against in four career starts against the Panthers.
The Panthers themselves are struggling of late and are just 2-3-3 in their last eight.
While the Flyers are 4-3-1 in their last eight and will be bringing their league leading 17-7-2 road record to Florida.
The Panthers are 11-5-6 at home and have the tenth best power play in the league connecting 18.8 percent of the time with the man advantage.
Kris Versteeg has found his goal scoring stick that he lost last season when he was traded to the Flyers at the trade deadline. He leads the Panthers in points with 42 and in goals with 19.
The Flyers will need to play close attention to him especially on the power play as he has five power play points and also has four game winning goals this season.
The Flyers need to finish this first half strong and come out of this game injury free. There are a lot of questions around this team's health that needs to be answered in the second half.
With the rookies doing their part so far, it looks as if the Flyers will just need to make a minor move at the trade line to add a veteran defenseman.
Step Up Players
Be sure to follow TCL Flyers on twitter (@TCLFlyers).