SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 24: Head coach Kevin Dineen of the Florida Panthers talks to the players during a time out against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 24, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Flyers defeated the Panthers 3-2 in a shoot out. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
The Flyers come into Sunrise riding a three game winning streak and in firm control of their own playoff destiny. The Panthers don't need outside help either, but things around here are about to start getting real.
The Panthers visit the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. This is the third of four games between the two this season. Both prior matchups were decided by identical 3-2 scores in favor of the Flyers, one in regulation, one in overtime.
Florida is 15-13-4 on the road, the Flyers are 16-10-5 at home. For the Panthers, this is the first game of a two game back-to-back Pennsylvania series. They will face the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night in steel city.
The Flyers are finishing up a two game homestand. They defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, 3-2. After tonight's matchup, they go on the road to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
The last time the two played was January 24th in Sunrise. Philadelphia won, 3-2 in a shootout. Mikael Samuelsson (3) opened up the scoring three minutes in, but was answered by two goals later in the period by Brayden Schenn (3) and Jakub Voracek (8). Tomas Fleischmann (16) tied it up in the second. Claude Giroux won it in the shootout for the Flyers. Sergei Bobrovsky got the win by stopping 23 of 25 shots in regulation, while Scott Clemmensen took the loss despite stopping 35 of 37 shots. Panther's coach Kevin Dineen lamented his team's lack of success in the shootout,
"We've got to figure out a better formula in the shootout," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "We're just losing too many points up for grabs and not ending up in our back pocket."
Flyers @ Panthers 01/24/12 (via NHLVideo)
Florida beat the Ottawa Senators on Sunday in their last game action, 4-2. The Panthers gave up goals in the first period to Jared Cowen (5) and Chris Neil (11) to fall two goals behind for the sixth time in their last eight games. They then reeled off four unanswered to top the Senators in Sunrise. Marcel Goc (7), Krys Barch (2), Mikael Samuelsson (9) and Jack Skille (4) lit the lamp for Florida. Jose Theodore made 23 of 25 stops for the win, while rookie callup Robin Lehner allowed four goals on 28 shots in the loss. Stephen Weiss talked about the Goc goal that kick started the Panthers in the second,
"That goal on the first shift of the second was big. It got us right into it and we were rolling from there, drew a couple of penalties and kind of got the momentum back on our side. And that was enough."
The Flyers are coming off a 3-2 victory over the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Jakub Voracek (12), Claude Giroux (24), and Maxime Talbot (18) scored for the Flyers. Henrik Zetterberg (16) and Johan Franzen (25) scored for the Wings. Detroit goaltender Joey MacDonald allowed three goals on 23 shots, including a shorthander in the second period for the loss. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 37 of 39 shots in the victory. Daniel Briere spoke about the Flyers goaltender afterward,
"Bryz has been great and he's playing awesome and we need him to keep playing that way," said Briere. "You look at the work he's done lately, he's been great. If he keeps playing that way, we're going to be in good shape. It's great to see. When he plays that way, he makes us all look better."
Red Wings @ Flyers 03/06/12 (via NHLVideo)
Philadelphia Flyers: 37-21-7, 81 points, third Atlantic Division, fifth Eastern Conference, seventh NHL, on pace for 102 points. Last five: O-L-W-W-W. Playoff odds: 99.96%