If nothing else, crowd watchers across North America can likely rest easy tonight, as the Philadelphia Flyers pay their first visit to South Florida tonight at 7:00 p.m. and on a Saturday night as well! After that, nothing is certain. These are two teams with similar records (Flyers 4-4-2 in 10 games played, Panthers are 3-2-3 in 8 GP), but they are getting things done in drastically different ways.
The Flyers sit 24th in the league in goals against per game (GA/G), averaging 3.40, while the Panthers are 5th, with a stingy 2.00 GA/G; The Flyers are 22nd in the league in save percentage (SV%) with an .895 SV% on the young season, while the Cats are 4th with a phenomenal .933 SV%. The men in orange are 6th in the league in goals for per game (GF/G) averaging 3.20. The Panthers? 29th, with an average 1.50 goals for per game. The same holds true with shots for per game (SF/G) with the visitors 6th in the league with a 32.2 average, and the Cats 25th with a 27.8 average. The Panthers will have to keep an eye on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, both among the league leaders in points this season.
Tonight's combatants are suddenly dealing with injuries. The Panthers came away from Thursday night's win with injuries to Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim, and Brandon Pirri (I still would like to hear from the NHL on that hit on Pirri, but I digress). Dave Bolland is still reportedly suffering from a groin injury. The Flyers defense has been decimated by injury this season. Phialdelphia recently signed UFA defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo to try and shore up the young and injury-riddled squad that was already considered shallow on big game talent by many coming into the season.
For the Cats, this means we may get to see Rocco Grimaldi in his first regular season NHL game, as well as the return of LBC favorite, Vincent Trocheck. This may also lead to a Jimmy Hayes sighting, which would be a welcome addition against a big Flyers team.
Both teams have been off since Thursday night. The Flyers lost to the Lightning after a Panther-esque game full of visits to the penalty box. Which game plan wins out tonight is anyones guess, but these are certainly two teams playing the game in vastly different ways right now.
For that distinctly City of Brotherly Love perspective on all things Panthers vs. Flyers, pay a visit to our friends at Broad Street Hockey and order up a Jim's Steak and a couple of pretzels, let them know that LBC sent you!