Florida Panthers Visit Philadelphia Flyers: Game 72 Preview

Mar 8, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison (52) kicks away the shot by Philadelphia Flyers center Danny Briere (48) during the 2nd period at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Szagola-US PRESSWIRE

The Panthers visit the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. Florida has posted an 0-2-1 record against the Flyers this season, losing at home, 3-2 in November, dropping a shootout affair, 3-2 at home in January, and getting shutout in Philadelphia, 5-0 two weeks ago.

The Panthers are starting a short two game road trip, finishing up tomorrow night against the Carolina Hurricanes. They are currently riding their first four game winning streak in four years and have earned points in five straight and in 10 of their last 13, going 8-3-2 since February 23rd.

The Flyers are playing in the second game of a five game homestand. They started out by handing the Pittsburgh Penguins their first loss in 12 games, 3-2 in overtime on Sunday, and continue on to host the Washington Capitals on Thursday, the Montreal Canadians on Saturday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The Flyers have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10.

Videos and more after the jump.

The Panthers last faced the Flyers 12 days ago in Philadelphia. The Panthers couldn't muster any offense, as Jose Theodore allowed five goals on 35 shots as the Panthers lost, 5-0. Ilya Bryzgalov was stellar in stopping all 28 Panthers shots in the first of three consecutive shutouts for the netminder. Brayden Schenn (9) and Jaromir Jagr (18) scored on the power play. Matt Read (19), Scott Hartnell (32) and Eric Wellwood (3) also lit the lamp for the Flyers. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen spoke about staying focused on the task at hand afterwards,

"It's a tough road game for us," he said. "Composure is the main issue for us right now. We've got quality veterans out there, but at the end of the day when you get them into games like this, you have to put 60 minutes in and that is something that we have not done in the last few weeks and we are going to need to do that successfully."

Panthers @ Flyers 03/08/12 (via NHLVideo)


The Cats outlasted the Buffalo Sabres in a marathon shootout on Saturday night, 3-2. Dmitry Kulikov sunk the game winner in the seventh round for the win. Tyler Ennis (11) got the Sabres on the board first just 1:15 into the game, as Buffalo kept Florida without a shot until the 17:15 mark. The Panthers then scored on their first two shots of the game, as Mikael Samuelsson (11) and John Madden (2) lit the lamp just 38 seconds apart. After Derek Roy (15) scored on the power play in the second period, the teams both went into a prolonged offensive funk, combining for just five shots (Buffalo 4, Florida 1) through the third period and zero in a continuous overtime skate. Wojtek Wolski and Tyler Ennis matched shootout markers in the second frame before Kulikov's game winner. Jose Theodore stopped 24-of-26 shots for the victory, while Ryan Miller allowed two regulation goals on 17 Florida shots, taking the eventual loss. Kulikov talked about getting warmed up afterwards,

"To be honest, it was pretty rough out there," Kulikov said. "I didn't feel very good in the first period, it felt like guys were just flying around and I was just standing there. It got better, I picked up the tempo a bit. I feel pretty good about myself today."

Sabres @ Panthers 03/17/12 (via NHLVideo)

For the view from the losing side, see Die By The Blade.

Philadelphia spotted their cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-0 lead, as Craig Adams (5) opened the scoring in the first and Evgeni Malkin (41) tacked one on in the second. The Flyers would answer the bell in the third. Kimmo Timonen (3) scored on an early power play, and Scott Hartnell (34, 35) tied it four minutes later, adding the game winner with one second left in the overtime period. Bryzgalov stopped 38-of-40 shots for the victory, while Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three goals on 27 shots for the loss. Hartnell talked about the game winner afterwards,

"The overtime goal was a great pass to me," Hartnell said. "(Braydon) Coburn did a great job letting it go through his stick and I was able to get it and shoot it quick."

Penguins @ Flyers 03/18/12 (via NHLVideo)


Common Thread:

Scottie Upshall played in 134 games over three seasons in Philadelphia, scoring 27 goals and 37 assists with a plus-11 rating and 145 penalty minutes.

Florida right wing Kris Versteeg played in 27 games for the Flyers last season, scoring seven goals and four assists with a plus-four rating and 24 penalty minutes.

Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja played 135 games for the Panthers over two seasons. He scored seven goals and assisted on 12 with an even rating with 146 penalty minutes.

Florida Panthers Milestones:

Games:
Shawn Matthias will pass Steve Montador into 41st all-time with his 197th game played tonight. Jason Garrison will move into a tie with Jesse Belanger in 46th with his 180th game played. Ed Jovanovski will tie David Booth in 18th tonight with his 309th Panther game.


Goals:
Kris Versteeg, Jason Garrison, and Tomas Fleischmann are tied in 48th all-time with 22 each. Dave Gagner is in 47th with 24. Shawn Matthias will move past Mike Van Ryn with his next goal, into 45th all-time with 26. Mike Santorelli will move into a tie with Niklas Hagman in 37th all-time with his next goal, number 30. Ed Jovanovski will move into 32nd with his next goal, number 32, with Richard Zednik. Stephen Weiss will tie Nathan Horton in fourth all-time with his next goal, number 142.


Assists:
Brian Campbell will move into a tie with Ivan Novoseltsev in 44th all-time with his 44th assist. Dmitry Kulikov will move into a tie for 34th all-time with Martin Gelinas with his 54th assist.

Florida Panthers Season Leaders:


Games:
Mike Weaver, Brian Campbell, Tomas Fleischmann - 71


Goals:
Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann - 22
Stephen Weiss - 17
Sean Bergenheim - 16


Assists:
Brian Campbell - 43
Stephen Weiss - 34
Tomas Fleischmann - 30


Points:
Tomas Fleischmann - 52
Stephen Weiss - 51
Kris Versteeg - 49
Brian Campbell - 47


Plus/Minus:
Jason Garrison - plus-9
Stephen Weiss, Marcel Goc - plus-6

Point Shares:
Jose Theodore - 8.9
Jason Garrison - 7.6
Brian Campbell - 7.4
Kris Versteeg - 6.2
Tomas Fleischmann - 5.9
Stephen Weiss - 5.7

Panthers Injuries:
Matt Bradley is out for the season with a concussion. Jack Skille just had shoulder surgery, and we will see him next season. Scottie Upshall should be returning from his sports hernia in the next week.

Panthers Starting Lineup:

Forwards:

14 - 9 - 32

20 - 57 - 26

82 - 18 - 8

16 - 10 - 21

Defensemen:

52 - 51

7 - 43

55 - 44

Goalie:

Not only is Jose Theodore confirmed for tonight's game in Philadelphia, but coach Dineen has implied that he will also start tomorrows game in Carolina provided the Panthers play well tonight. (Edit: Scott Clemmensen is starting)

Flyers Injuries:


Philadelphia Flyers Injuries

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Maxime Talbot other-excused 03/19/2012
Andreas Lilja other-excused 03/19/2012

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Blair Betts knee 10/09/2011
Chris Pronger knee 11/20/2011
Tom Sestito groin 02/17/2012
Ian Laperriere concussion 09/18/2011
James van Riemsdyk foot 03/02/2012


Flyers Starting Lineup:

Forwards:

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr

Eric Wellwood - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Jody Shelley - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo

Defensemen:

Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle

Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann

Brandon Manning - Erik Gustafsson

Goalie:

Ilya Bryzgalov is tonight's goalie for the Flyers. He has posted a .960 save percentage with a 1.19 GAA to go with his 8-0-1 record over his last nine matches.

Top Corsi Panthers: (last five games)
Mikael Samuelsson - .549
Sean Bergenheim - .537
Marcel Goc - .533
Ed Jovanovski - .511
Erik Gudbranson - .500

Top Corsi Flyers: (last five games)
Scott Hartnell - .552
Claude Giroux - .531
Eric Welllwood - .525
Jaromir Jagr - .511
Kimmo Timonen - .508

Standings:

Florida Panthers: 35-23-13, 83 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 12th NHL, on pace for 96 points. Last five games: O-W-W-W-W. Playoff odds: 97.2%

Philadelphia Flyers: 42-22-8, 92 points, third Atlantic Division, fifth Eastern Conference, fifth NHL, on pace for 105 points. Last five games: L-W-W-O-W. Playoff odds: 99.9999%

Season Series: 0-2-1

All-Time Series: 26-38-12

Game Time: 7:00 PM ET

For even more rich, creamy goodness, visit Broad Street Hockey and/or the TSN preview.

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