Both teams took the ice and neither was really blowing the other away. It seemed as if the first few minutes of the game were played in slow motion. Florida blew a few good chances against Ilya Bryzgalov and likewise the Flyers on Jose Theodore.
At the eight minute mark, Shawn Matthias took two quick shots on Bryzgalov, one kicked aside and the second gloved to stop play.
Ed Jovanovski was called for roughing Jody Shelley in the 10th minute, and the Flyers would break the seal on the scoreboard directly, as Claude Giroux fed Scott Hartnell right in front of Theodore. Hartnell whiffed the puck, but Brayden Schenn (9) buried it for the 1-0 lead. Matt Carle earned the secondary assist on the play.
Claude Giroux was called for slashing at the 12 minute mark to give the Cats their first man advantage of the evening. Jason Garrison unleashed his howitzer against Bryzgalov, but the Flyers killed the penalty with four clears.
Matt Carle pushed Jack Skille into Bryzgalov at the 15-minute mark, sending all three crashing to the ice. Skille was slow getting up, but then dropped the gloves seconds later. Carle simply sat on Skille and the fight was halted. Roughing calls were called on Skille and Carle, and the Panthers enjoyed their second power play of the period. Florida never got set, and looked outmatched even though they outnumbered the Flyers as Philadelphia cleared the puck out of the zone five times.
The Flyers made it 2-0 at the three minute mark, the Panthers giving the Flyers multiple chances to get the puck past Jose Theodore. Matt Read (19) put it home with an assist from Wayne Simmonds.
On the following faceoff, Krys Barch tried to inject some life into the Panthers by dropping the gloves with Jody Shelley. Barch won the fight after a few haymakers were landed by each participant, but both were given identical five minute fighting penalties.
Tomas Fleischmann turned the puck over in the Flyers zone to a streaking Scott Hartnell (32), who raced down the ice and put the puck high over Theodore’s glove side for a 3-0 Flyers advantage.
Stephen Weiss had an opening in the Flyers zone, skating all the way to the hole for Florida and feeding the puck through the goal mouth to nobody, as the Panthers remain scoreless with three minutes remaining in the second.
Zac Rinaldo was called for boarding Ed Jovanovski with just over a minute to play in the period. The Panthers spent most of the time in their own zone, as the Flyers really seemed to want a short handed goal.
A minute into the third, the Panthers were on their heels in their own zone, finishing up the “power play” when rookies Zac Rinaldo and Erik Gudbranson squared off. Gudbranson was the clear winner as both players were sent to the box for fighting, but Gudbranson was assessed the additional minor for roughing. The Flyers took to a two man advantage when the Panthers were called for too many men on the ice with 43 seconds left on the man advantage. It was 4-0 just seconds later as Jaromir Jagr scored his 19th of the season with assists from Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux.
Florida didn’t seem to have much in the way of strategy, relying on dump and chase and the occasional single player cutting through the defense. Mostly, it was just damage control throughout the third.
Florida took to another power play with seven minutes left in the game when Flyer Andreas Lilja was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Cats looked more composed than on their prior chance, but Bryzgalov was strong against multiple shots, most notably a point blank chance by Mikael Samuelsson.
Eric Wellwood (3) put icing on the cake for the Flyers with a minute and a half left in the game on a breakaway chance against Theodore.
Hits: Panthers, 20-19 (Ed Jovanovski led the Panthers with four, while Matt Read and Zac Rinaldo collected three for the Flyers)
Blocked Shots: Flyers, 18-6 (Matt Carle had four for Philadelphia, Jovanovski blocked two for the Cats)
Faceoffs: Panthers, 27-23 (Marcel Goc was a stellar 10 of 12 in the circle, Claude Giroux won five of nine for the Flyers)
Shots on goal: Flyers, 35-28 (Wayne Simmonds took five shots for the Flyers, Shawn Matthias took five shots for the Cats)
Score: Flyers 5, Panthers 0