Game 11: Florida Panthers @ Philadelphia Flyers


Matchup: Florida Panthers (4-2-4) @ Philadelphia Flyers (5-5-2)

Where: Wells Fargo Center

When: 7:00 p.m.

TV/Radio: FS-F, 560 WQAM

Preview: The Florida Panthers will be looking to extend their point streak to eight games tonight as they finish up a two-game road trip tonight in Philadelphia.

The last time these two met the Panthers squeaked out a 2-1 win behind the elite play of Roberto Luongo. Aaron Ekblad was also one of the nights hero’s as he netted his first career NHL goal. Tonight, Ekblad will be returning to the very arena in which he was selected #1 overall by the Panthers back in June.

"I kind of remember [where he sat],” Ekblad said after the Panthers optional morning skate. “Off to the side there. I pointed it out to one of the guys.”"

It should be a cool moment for Ekblad tonight when he actually gets to step on the ice in Philly.

Tonight the Cats will get Aleksander Barkov tonight as he has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.Barkov will center the first line and have Jussi Jokinen and Brad Boyes playing alongside him.

"“It was a bone bruise, something like that, not bad but was a little sore all the time. Now I’m ready to go.” – Barkov of injury"

Tonight, Philadelphia is looking to continue their good play on home ice. They have won three games in a row at Wells Fargo Center and have been perfect on the penalty kill at home.

The Flyers also have their share of injuries, and in their last game they lost Michael Raffl who is tied with Wayne Simmonds for the team lead in goals with six. Chris VandeVelde will be taking Raffl’s place on the top line.

"“I want a simple player. I want someone who’s going to go in straight lines, good defensively, big body. He has all those things. Skates well. He’s been physical this year. It’s important that we have a guy like that on that line. Giroux and Voracek have the puck a lot. They’re going to do a lot of the work with the puck. We need a guy to get in there and bang bodies and get pucks to the net. … I’m excited to see how it looks.” – Flyers HC Craig Berube on VandeVelde"

Like the last meeting between these two, I expect it to be a hard-fought, low-scoring battle. Expect a 2-1, 1-0 type of finish tonight.

Keys to the Game:

  • Get on the Power-Play: Yes the Flyers have been lights out at home on the PK (17 out of 17 killed) but they rank 23rd in the league at killing penalties.
  • Make Life Hard for Steve Mason: Flyers goalie Steve Mason has been struggling this year. He is 1-4-1, has a 3.16 GAA, and a .901 SV%. The Panthers must create chances like they have been in the past and they need to shoot more than they did on Tuesday against Boston (19 shots on goal).

Line Combinations

Florida Panthers:

Jussi Jokinen – Aleksander Barkov – Brad Boyes

Scottie Upshall – Nick Bjugstad – Jimmy Hayes

Tomas Fleischmann – Vincent Trocheck – Rocco Grimaldi

Shawn Thornton – Derek MacKenzie – Tomas Kopecky

Brian Campbell – Aaron Ekblad

Erik Gudbranson – Dylan Olsen

Willie Mitchell – Dmitry Kulikov

Roberto Luongo

Al Montoya

Scratched: Colby Robak

Injured: Jonathan Huberdeau (illness), Dave Bolland (lower body), Sean Bergenheim (lower body), Brandon Pirri (upper body)

Philadelphia Flyers:

Michael Raffl – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn – Vincent Lecavalier – Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger – Sean Couturier – Matt Read

Zac Rinaldo – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Chris VandeVelde

Nicklas Grossmann – Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto – Nick Schultz

Brandon Manning – Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Blair Jones, Jason Akeson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Shayne Gostisbehere

Injured: Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Ryan White (chest)

My Prediction: 2-1 Flyers

Got any game predictions? Let us know in the comments below as input is greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.