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Philadelphia Flyers Visit Florida Panthers: Game 48 Preview

Florida escaped Winnipeg with a win on a Saturday night shootout. Can they ground the Philadelphia Flyers skating into the All-Star break?

Florida will be hosting the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. This is the second of four meetings this season between the two teams, and the final of two to be played in Florida. The Panthers carry an 11-5-6 home record into the matchup, while the Flyers have a 17-7-2 road record. For Florida, this is the first game of a three game homestand. After the All-Star break, they will stay home to host the Washington Capitals next Wednesday and the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. This is also the final game for the Flyers headed into the All-Star break. They will go on to start a homestand next Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets, also facing the Nashville Predators and the New Jersey Devils.

The teams last met on November 13th, 2011, with the Flyers escaping Sunrise with a 3-2 regulation victory. Evgeny Dadonov and Tomas Fleischmann scored Florida's goals, while Danny Briere and Braydon Coburn scoring for Philadelphia. Matt Read scored the game winner after being tripped on a shorthanded breakaway on the penalty shot. Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 of 33 saves for the Flyers victory, while Jose Theodore allowed three goals on 35 shots for Florida.

Flyers @ Panthers 11/13/11 (via NHLVideo)

Kris Versteeg scored two in regulation, bringing his team leading total to 19, and Mike Santorelli scored his sixth for the Panthers. After a scoreless overtime, Versteeg and Santorelli both netted shootout goals to keep Florida in the game, and Mikael Samuellson sunk the dagger in the seventh round, beating Ondrej Pavelec, who took the loss, allowing three goals on 23 shots before the shootout. Scott Clemmensen earned the victory for the Panthers, stopping 41 of 44 shots, also not counting the shootout.

Panthers @ Jets 01/21/12 (via NHLVideo)

Boston Bruins, 6-5 in a Sunday matinee. Scott Hartnell scored a natural hat trick, with three markers in the second period to pace Philadelphia. Claude Giroux assisted on each of Hartnell's goals, also lighting the lamp in the shootout. Maxime Talbot added two for the Flyers in the loss. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed five goals on 37 shots, along with two more on two shots in the shooutout.

Bruins @ Flyers 01/22/12 (via NHLVideo)


Florida Panthers: 22-15-10, 54 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 13th NHL, on pace for 94 points.

Philadelphia Flyers: 28-14-5, 61 points, second Atlantic Division, fourth Eastern Conference, seventh NHL, on pace for 106 points.

Injuries: Ed Jovanovski broke his hand in a fight against the Boston Bruins last Monday. Marco Sturm has been skating but is not ready to join the team. Heir apparent goaltender Jacob Markstrom is likely out for the rest of the season.

Starting Lineups:


Jose Theodore (14-9-5) will start, with Scott Clemmensen (6-2-4) backing him up.

Forwards: All this information is subject to change, but it looks like Shawn Matthias and Jack Skille are healthy scratches.

1. Bergenheim - Weiss - Versteeg

2. Fleischmann - Goc - Samuelsson

3. Upshall - Madden - Kopecky

4. Bradley - Santorelli - Barch


1. Campbell - Garrison

2. Kulikov - Gudbranson

3. Ellerby - Weaver

Common Thread:

Panthers left winger Scottie Upshall played in 134 games over three seasons in Philadelphia, scoring 27 goals and 37 assists with a plus-11 rating and 145 penalty minutes.

Florida right wing Kris Versteeg played in 27 games for the Flyers last season, scoring seven goals and four assists with a plus-four rating and 24 penalty minutes.

Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja played 135 games for the Panthers over two seasons. He scored seven goals and assisted on 12 with an even rating with 146 penalty minutes.

Team Milestones:

Goals: With one more goal, Jason Garrison will pass Brett McLean into 48th, with 21.

Shawn Matthias' next goal will give him 24, moving him into a tie in 46th with Dave Gagner.

Mike Santorelli will tie Gary Roberts in 42nd with his 27th goal.


Dmitry Kulikov's next assist will give him 54 for his career, moving him into a tie with Martin Gelinas for 34th.


One more point for Kulikov will give him 67, tying Bryan Allen in 44th place.

Team Leaders:


Kris Versteeg - 19

Tomas Fleischmann - 15

Jason Garrison - 13

Stephen Weiss - 12


Brian Campbell - 31

Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg - 23

Dmitry Kulikov - 20


Kris Versteeg - 42

Stephen Weiss - 35

Tomas Fleischmann, Brian Campbell - 34


Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg - plus-10

Jason Garrison - plus-four

Mikael Samuelsson - plus-two

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.