The Philadelphia Flyers fresh off a shootout victory (4-3) over the Tampa Bay Lightning come into the Bank Atlantic Center hoping to avoid their fourth consecutive loss in this building. For some reason the Cats seem to play Philly with a little extra jump here in Sunrise, and tonight they hope to be no different. Although Eugene from Broad Street Buzz texted me last night saying ” I hope we demolish the Cats tomorrow in your glorious building”. Typical Flyer fan fodder. Talk is cheap brother. Prove it on the ice! The bully system doesn’t always work.
With the Flyers victory last night, they now lead the Eastern Conference by five points over the second place Lightning. The Florida Panthers meanwhile remain seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes as they attempt to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Flyers record on the road this season is a gaudy 18-6-3, and they have won 12 of their last 16 road games, while getting balanced scoring and very solid goaltending. Last night Brian Boucher made 24 saves to get the win. Tonight we could see rookie Sergei Bobrovski between the pipes.
Danny Briere leads in goals with 27 and Claude Giroux leads in points with 52 for the Flyers. Giroux also has 10 points in his last eight games, as the youngster is making a name for himself. Too bad Uncle Jack didn’t pull the trigger on a trade that would have put him in a panther uniform! Jeff Carter another player that was talked about coming here in the past is on a streak of his own with 10 points in his last eight games. He has four goals in his last nine road games against the Panthers.
Kris Versteeg the former Chicago Blackhawk and recently former Toronto Maple Leaf will play his second game for the Flyers, as he adds some additional scoring help to their already potent lineup. Versteeg also brings a bit of an edge to his game as well, so he just might fit in with these Flyers. I do have one question for Kris. Did he ask Pronger if he still has the puck?
The Panthers are coming off a big win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday which saw the Panthers win in dramatic fashion on a slap hoist late in the game by Jason Garrison. The building went nuts and little Miss Rat Trick said as we were walking to the car afterwards. “I haven’t heard the crowd that loud in a long time”. Winning brings cheers. And as I wrote yesterday, sometimes you have to survive the nonsense in between.
Tomas Vokoun is the likely starter as he has won his three games against the Flyers. Stephen Weiss still remains the leading point getter for Florida with 37, but has only four in his last 11 games. Dmitry Kulikov remains out with an ankle injury and he could be gone for about two weeks. Bryan McCabe is almost ready to return from his broken jaw. Possibly looking for a Friday return against the Dead Wings.
Lost of line changes in yesterday’s practice, so who knows how things will look. Things have needed some juggling to fins some scoring, and hopefully coach DeBoer saw some things he liked in practice. I would bet though tat we see Darcy Hordichuk a little bit more than normal tonight. Cory Stillman plays in game 1,000 tonight. Congrats to him. I’m looking for Jack “Crash” Skille to get his first goal as a Panther tonight.
Here’s the TSN preview.
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