Skip to content

Flyers Return Home to a Heros Welcome, Hopeful to Avoid Letdown Versus Panthers

Feb 21, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

http://www.the700level.com/images/997473.jpg

You can’t blame the Flyers for maybe feeling a little
physically and emotionally drained the day after their 6-5 slobber-knocker against
the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The show must go on though, and the troops will
turn right around to host the Florida Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center on
Thursday night.

This is already the third and final regular season meeting with
the Panthers, a club that was actually on the upswing two short weeks ago.
Since defeating the Flyers 3-2 in a shootout two weeks ago, Florida has posted
a 0-2-3 record. They’ve been shut out three times during the current winless
streak, while allowing an average of 4.20 goals per contest.

Florida is now 4-7-4 on the season, just one point out of
last place in the Eastern Conference. The reigning Southeast Division Champions
have the 27th-ranked offense in the NHL at 2.27 goals per game, and defensively
are a league-worst 3.73 goals against per game.

It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what the problem
is there. Injuries have certainly been an issue, calling into question the
organization’s depth.

For the Flyers’ part, it seems they just need to dig deep
and try to carry over their outstanding efforts from the last two tilts against
the Pens and Islanders. On paper they clearly have the Panthers overmatched, so
it’s all about avoiding the trap.

Easier said than done. No team has played more dates in the
early part of their schedule than Philadelphia, who finished up their
season-long six-game road trip with an uber-intense encounter with a bitter
rival. Orange & Black will be skating for the 19th already, compared to 16
for Florida, or even 14 for the Boston Bruins in action elsewhere.

The uneven number of games played around the league muddles
the playoff picture in the standings a bit, but here’s what you need to know:
thanks to their recent surge, the Flyers can back to .500 with a win tonight
for the first time since the season began. After a 2-6 start, Philly is 6-3-1
for 13 of a possible 20 points in their last 10.

No word yet on whether it will be Ilya Bryzgalov or Brian
Boucher in net, nor do we have an update on Matt Read, who has four of his
seven goals against the Panthers this season. If Read can’t go, Tye McGinn will
likely be back in the lineup for the first time in two games. We’ll update as
we hear more leading up to 7 p.m. puck drop.

Update: