Flyers continue Florida swing against Panthers
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FLYERS (8-4-3) at PANTHERS (8-4-3)
1. SAME AS YOU
The Flyers and Florida Panthers have identical 8-4-3 records for 19 points in the standings through the first 15 games of the season … Both the Flyers (3-0-2) and Panthers (2-0-3) are undefeated in regulation in their last five games as well.
2. OFF-SEASON CHANGES
Also in similar fashion to the Flyers, the Panthers have a new look to their team from just a year ago after bringing in 13 different players in off-season acquisitions, two of which are former Flyers in Scottie Upshall and Kris Versteeg … Upshall will be out of the lineup tonight, while Versteeg leads the Panthers in scoring with 17 points (8G-9A) in 15 games.
3. THE G-LINE
has points in seven of his last eight games, gathering six goals and five assists for 11 points in that stretch … Scott Hartnell
has 11 points in those eight games (6G, 5A) and Claude Giroux
has 11 points (4G, 7A) … That gives the line a total of 31 points (16G, 15A) in the last eight games.
4. Player to watch out for FLYERS: ILYA BRYZGALOV
Bryzgalov is expected to get the start in net for the Flyers and if he does, has good career numbers against the Florida Panthers … In three games, he has allowed just five goals and is unbeaten in regulation play, going 2-0-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average … In his last four starts, Bryzgalov is 3-0-1 with a 1.74 GAA and .939 save percentage.
5. Player to watch out for PANTHERS: TOMAS FLEISCHMANN
Fleischman is one of the Panthers leading scorers with 14 points in 15 games and plays on the top line for Florida … He also has recorded at least a point in eight of his last nine games which has translated into four goals and seven assists for 11 points in that span … In addition, he also has eight points (3G-5A) in 12 career games against the Flyers.
: This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. They split the four meetings last season, with the winning club collecting at least four goals each time.
: Flyers 4-4-2, Panthers 5-2-3
: Both teams have lengthy point streaks going, and will be trying to keep pace with the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.
: Philadelphia has points in five straight games (3-0-2) since dropping a 9-8 decision on Oct. 27 to the Winnipeg Jets. The Flyers lost in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lighting on Wednesday, but their tactics at times during regulation caused quite a stir around the League.
: The Panthers have points in six straight contests (3-0-3) and were in first-place in the Southeast Division for 24 hours after a win Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.
The team's top line has played a big part in that. Stephen Weiss is one of the few holdovers on the roster from before general manager Dale Tallon arrived, and he has combined with additions Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann to form a productive trio. They've combined for 18 goals and 43 points, and they are three of the top four scorers on the roster.
: Scott Hartnell
has scored six goals in eight games for the Flyers after not registering one in his first seven contests of the season. Versteeg, who finished last season with the Flyers, had a hat trick in Florida’s win against Winnipeg and leads the club with eight goals and 17 points.
: Rookie center Brayden Schenn is out with a broken foot for the Flyers. Forward Andreas Nodl
(lower body) and defenseman Erik Gustafsson (wrist) are both questionable. Florida forward Mikael Samuelsson remains out with a lower-body injury – he hasn’t played since being traded from Vancouver.
: The Flyers are the League's highest-scoring team, leading in both goals scored (57) and goals per contest (3.80) after Friday's games. Florida last season tied for 27th in the NHL last season at 2.33 goals per game, but this season they are at 2.87 per contest and currently 11th.
: Florida's improved offense, both up front and with the defense corps, has helped the Panthers become a playoff contender in the early stages of this season. Having a healthy team has also helped.
The Panthers have 12 skaters who have played in all 15 games, and two more who have missed only one. Add in the combination of David Booth and Marco Sturm (who were traded for each other) and 15 of the team’s 18 lineup spots have been steady. One of the team’s top six defensemen at the start of the season, rookie Erik Gudbranson, has also been healthy but has been scratched four times.
New coach Kevin Dineen had to blend together a roster with incredible turnover from last season, but having plenty of continuity so far has certainly helped.