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Florida Panthers Visit Philadelphia Flyers: Game 72 Preview

Florida rides a four game winning streak into Wells Fargo Center tonight to face a high flying Philadelphia club.

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 13:  Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers makes a save against the Florida Panthers on November 13 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 13: Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers makes a save against the Florida Panthers on November 13 2010 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)
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The Panthers visit the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. Florida has posted an 0-2-1 record against the Flyers this season, losing at home, 3-2 in November, dropping a shootout affair, 3-2 at home in January, and getting shutout in Philadelphia, 5-0 two weeks ago.

The Panthers are starting a short two game road trip, finishing up tomorrow night against the Carolina Hurricanes. They are currently riding their first four game winning streak in four years and have earned points in five straight and in 10 of their last 13, going 8-3-2 since February 23rd.

The Flyers are playing in the second game of a five game homestand. They started out by handing the Pittsburgh Penguins their first loss in 12 games, 3-2 in overtime on Sunday, and continue on to host the Washington Capitals on Thursday, the Montreal Canadians on Saturday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The Flyers have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10.

The Panthers last faced the Flyers 12 days ago in Philadelphia. The Panthers couldn't muster any offense, as Jose Theodore allowed five goals on 35 shots as the Panthers lost, 5-0. Ilya Bryzgalov was stellar in stopping all 28 Panthers shots in the first of three consecutive shutouts for the netminder. Brayden Schenn (9) and Jaromir Jagr (18) scored on the power play. Matt Read (19), Scott Hartnell (32) and Eric Wellwood (3) also lit the lamp for the Flyers. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen spoke about staying focused on the task at hand afterwards,

"It's a tough road game for us," he said. "Composure is the main issue for us right now. We've got quality veterans out there, but at the end of the day when you get them into games like this, you have to put 60 minutes in and that is something that we have not done in the last few weeks and we are going to need to do that successfully."

Panthers @ Flyers 03/08/12 (via NHLVideo)

Florida outlasted the Buffalo Sabres in a marathon shootout on Saturday night. Dmitry Kulikov sunk the game winner in the seventh round for the win. Tyler Ennis (11) got the Sabres on the board first just 1:15 into the game, as Buffalo kept Florida without a shot until the 17:15 mark. The Panthers then scored on their first two shots of the game, as Mikael Samuelsson (11) and John Madden (2) lit the lamp just 38 seconds apart. After Derek Roy (15) scored on the power play in the second period, the teams both went into a prolonged offensive funk, combining for just five shots (Buffalo 4, Florida 1) through the third period and zero in a continuous overtime skate. Wojtek Wolski and Tyler Ennis matched shootout markers in the second frame before Kulikov's game winner. Jose Theodore stopped 24-of-26 shots for the victory, while Ryan Miller allowed two regulation goals on 17 Florida shots, taking the eventual loss. Kulikov talked about getting warmed up afterwards,

"To be honest, it was pretty rough out there," Kulikov said. "I didn't feel very good in the first period, it felt like guys were just flying around and I was just standing there. It got better, I picked up the tempo a bit. I feel pretty good about myself today."

Sabres @ Panthers 03/17/12 (via NHLVideo)

In Philadelphia's last game, the Flyers put a stop to the Pittsburgh Penguins 11-game win streak, 3-2 in overtime. After spotting the Penguins a 2-0 lead by allowing goals to Craig Adams (5) in the first and Evgeni Malkin (41) in the second, the Flyers came back in the third. Kimmo Timonen (3) scored on an early power play, and Scott Hartnell (34, 35) tied it four minutes later, adding the game winner with one second left in the overtime period. Bryzgalov stopped 38-of-40 shots for the victory, while Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three goals on 27 shots for the loss. Hartnell talked about the game winner afterwards,

"The overtime goal was a great pass to me," Hartnell said. "(Braydon) Coburn did a great job letting it go through his stick and I was able to get it and shoot it quick."

Penguins @ Flyers 03/18/12 (via NHLVideo)


Florida Panthers: 35-23-13, 83 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 12th NHL, on pace for 96 points. Last five games: O-W-W-W-W. Playoff odds: 97.2%

Philadelphia Flyers: 42-22-8, 92 points, third Atlantic Division, fifth Eastern Conference, fifth NHL, on pace for 105 points. Last five games: L-W-W-O-W. Playoff odds: 99.9999%

Season Series: 0-2-1

All-Time Series: 26-38-12

Game Time: 7:00 PM ET

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