GameDay Preview: Florida Panthers vs Philadelphia Flyers

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The 1-1 Panthers visit the City of Brotherly Love tonight to face off with a winless Flyers squad. Will the three-day break leave the Cats revitalized? Or will Philly's recent coaching change prove an overwhelming factor?

The Panthers visit the Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the first of three contests this season (these two will face off again in Sunrise on November 25th and on April 8th). Florida is in the third match of a four game season-opening road trip. They started it out with a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday, and continued with an embarrassing 7-0 shutout at the hands of the St. Louis Blues Saturday. They finish off with a visit to Tampa Bay and the Lightning on Thursday.

Philadelphia opened the season with a 3-1 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, followed by road losses to the Montreal Canadiens (4-1 on Saturday) and the Carolina Hurricanes (2-1 on Sunday). They'll go on to host the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday before setting out on the road again for a matchup with the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

The Flyers fired Peter Laviolette (0-3 in 2013-14) Monday morning, quickly naming then-assistant coach Craig Berube - no stranger to the physical stuff - as the 18th head coach in team history.

A Look Back

The 4-7-4 Panthers visited the 8-9-1 Flyers on February 21st of last season. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice, including on a penalty shot, Peter Mueller scored two of his own, Mike Weaver dished out two assists, and goaltender Scott Clemmensen stopped 29-of-31 shots for the Panthers, who skated to a 5-2 victory. According to NHL.COM:

The Panthers jumped on the Flyers with a pair of goals 29 seconds apart midway through the first -- and then Huberdeau, the third pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, doubled the Florida lead.

He poked the puck away from Schenn at the Florida blue line and flew out of the zone. The puck went to Mueller, who hit Huberdeau for a breakaway that was stopped when Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen bear-hugged the rookie. Referees awarded a penalty shot, which allowed him to showcase his offensive creativity. * Full Recap * Box Score

Huberdeau penalty shot 2/21/13 (via NHL)

After the game, Panthers coach Kevin Dineen spoke about Huberdeau:

It was a good snapshot of why [GM] Dale [Tallon] and our management staff have talked highly of him. It's good from the first four, five, six games of the year. He's heading in the right direction. He's playing well, he's playing hard, he's playing the right way.

The Panthers failed to get onto the scoresheet in their last action, a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the S. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Goaltender Tim Thomas allowed five goals on 28 shots before giving way in the third period to Jacob Markstrom.

Halak wasn't all that busy Saturday night, but his 19 saves were good enough for his 17th shutout, which passed Glenn Hall for the Blues' franchise record in a 7-0 thumping of the Florida Panthers at Scottrade Center. * Full Recap * Box Score


Today

GameTime: 7:00 PM ET, FS-FLA, FS-SW, WQAM, LBC GameThread at 6:30

All-Time Record: Florida is 29-39-7-5, earning 43.8% of possible points in matchups with the Flyers.

Season Series: First meeting

Standings:

Florida Panthers, 1-1-0, .500, 2 points, on pace for 82 points. Tied for fifth in the Atlantic Division, tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference, tied for 16th in the NHL.

Philadelphia Flyers, 0-3-0, 1.000, 0 points, on pace for 0 points. Eighth in the Metropolitan Division, tied for 14th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 29th in the NHL.

Common Thread

Panthers forward Scottie Upshall played parts of three seasons with the Flyers, scoring 27 goals with 37 assists, a plus-11 rating, and 145 PIM in 134 games.

Panthers forward Kris Versteeg played 27 games with Philadelphia in 2010-11, scoring seven goals with four assists, a plus-four rating, and 24 PIM.

Panthers Milestones

Games

F Shawn Matthias will play in his 256th game, moving him into a tie with former captain Brian Skrudland at 30th.

Goals

Tomas Kopecky and Kris Versteeg each have 25 career Panthers goals, tied for 47th. A 26th goal for either will break a tie with Mike Van Ryn. Shawn Matthias and Tomas Fleischmann have 39 goals apiece, tied for 29th all time, a goal for either will move them into a tie for 28th with Juraj Kolnik.

Assists

Matthias, with 42 assists, is tied with Gary Roberts for 49th all-time. Fleischmann tallied an assist on Thursday, giving him 58 with the Panthers. He is currently tied with Paul Laus for 33rd. Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will be his 65th, moving him into a tie at 29th with captain Ed Jovanovski. Brian Campbell currently has 70 assists, and is now tied for 22nd with Cory Stillman.

Birthdays

Scottie Upshall turned 30 yesterday. Former Panther Kevyn Adams turns 39 today.

Probable Starting Lineups

Florida Panthers

Forwards
Defensemen
Goaltenders

Philadelphia Flyers

Forwards
Defensemen
Goaltenders

Check out Broad Street Hockey for more on the Flyers, and keep it tuned right here for the LBC GameThread, going live around 6:30 for a 7 pm showtime.

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