Game Day Preview: Florida Panthers Vs Philadelphia Flyers

Jan 24, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore (60) and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (7) stop a shot by the Ottawa Senators during the second period at the BB

There is something about the Philadelphia Flyers that makes them easy to hate. Maybe it has to do with incidents such as the Mike Richards hit on David Booth. One could argue that Booth has not been the same player since that hit.  Maybe it is because as a die-hard New York Mets fan, my dislike of the Philadelphia Phillies oozes past the bounds of baseball and into the realm of Philadelphia sports in general.  Maybe it is simply because Philly fans are so obnoxiously in your face that there is no other sensible human reaction other than utter dislike of all things Philadelphia, I mean they even booed cancer for crying out loud!  Whatever it is, whenever the Flyers play the Panthers I feel like the game takes on more importance than your average run of the mill non-division game.

The Philadelphia Flyers are coming to town tonight to take on the Panthers at 7:30 PM.  Both teams are in desperate need for a win after both have suffered through slow starts to the shortened season.  The Panthers and the Flyers each have one win to go along with three losses so tonight’s game should feature a large helping of early season desperation.  This will be the only meeting between the teams in South Florida.  They will play two more games this season in Philadelphia.  Last season the Flyers took the season series winning three out of four games.  The Flyers have also won four straight games in Florida dating back to March of 2010. (Source)

Injury Report:

The Florida Panthers injury woes continue to spiral downwards. The destruction of the Panthers top line will be complete tonight as it appears Tomas Fleischmann will not play after suffering a skate cut on his foot. (Source) Fleischmann will join injured line mates Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss as well as injured forwards Sean Bergenheim and Marcel Goc.  To fill some of the vacancies in the lineup, the Panthers have called up forward Quinton Howden.  Howden has played in 41 games for the Panthers AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage.  In those games Howden has scored 9 goals, 10 assists and 19 points. In addition to the forwards out, defenseman Eric Gudbranson still does not appear to be ready make his season debut.

Jan 19, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Scottie Upshall (19) celebrates his goal with center Tomas Fleischmann (14) in the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the BB

The Flyers have some injury problems of their own. Forward Scott Hartnell will be out 4-8 weeks with a broken metatarsal in his left foot. The Flyers signed veteran forward Mike Knuble to provide more depth in lieu of the injury. (Source) In addition to Hartnell being out, NHL.com reports that the Flyers will be without Andrej Meszaros, Zac Rinaldo and Danny Briere.

UPDATE:

It appears Fleischmann will actually be playing tonight. Here is what Kevin Dineen had to say about the state of the Panthers lineup, “We were a hard scout today, You look at the morning skate and you look at the bodies in the lineup and the possibilities. We’re not sure what we’re putting on the ice tonight just based on guys are that close to coming back.” (NHL.com)

Here is the lineup we could see tonight: (NHL.com)

Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Kopecky - Alex Kovalev

Jonathan Huberdeau - Peter Mueller - Scottie Upshall

Quinton Howden - Shawn Matthias - Drew Shore

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Pre-Game Points:

  • With Fleischmann out, the lineup Dineen will go with tonight is anyones guess. One thing is for sure though, the kids will get a chance to shine tonight. With Drew Shore, Quinton Howden and Jonathan Huberdeau all lacing up the skates, we will get a chance to get a glimpse at this so called “youth movement” a lot earlier than expected.
  • There are many things to point to as reasons for the Panthers slow start, but the play of Jose Theodore is not one of them. He has been solid in the net giving the Panthers a chance to win in all of his starts.
  • The Panthers scored one goal against the Senators in the teams two meetings this past week. I maintained the hope that maybe Ottawa’s defense was just “that good” and that it was unfortunate for the Panthers to play them twice in one week.  That theory fell apart last night as the Tampa Bay Lightning hung a six spot on the same Ottawa D in a 6-4 win, albeit against the Senators backup keeper Ben Bishop.
  • Did I mention that I hate the Flyers? Just to reiterate in cased you missed it, I hate the Flyers! Another reason to dislike the Flyers is the way their fans fill the BB&T Center.  South Florida is the central hub for displaced fans from the Northeast and as such, Panthers home games against teams like the Flyers, Bruins, Rangers, etc etc can often feel like away games.
  • I personally think its about time we see big George Parros drop the gloves. He is certainly not in the line up for his scoring prowess. Heres to hoping tonights the night we see what the mustachioed man can do.

Here is some pump up music for tonights game courtesy of the Panthers new marketing campaign. LETS GET IT ON!

Topics: Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers

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