Flyers Return Home to a Heros Welcome, Hopeful to Avoid Letdown Versus Panthers

Flyers Return Home to a Heros Welcome, Hopeful to Avoid Letdown Versus Panthers

You can’t blame the Flyers for maybe feeling a little
physically and emotionally drained the day after their 6-5 slobber-knocker against
the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The show must go on though, and the troops will
turn right around to host the Florida Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center on
Thursday night.

This is already the third and final regular season meeting with
the Panthers, a club that was actually on the upswing two short weeks ago.
Since defeating the Flyers 3-2 in a shootout two weeks ago, Florida has posted
a 0-2-3 record. They’ve been shut out three times during the current winless
streak, while allowing an average of 4.20 goals per contest.

Florida is now 4-7-4 on the season, just one point out of
last place in the Eastern Conference. The reigning Southeast Division Champions
have the 27th-ranked offense in the NHL at 2.27 goals per game, and defensively
are a league-worst 3.73 goals against per game.

It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what the problem
is there. Injuries have certainly been an issue, calling into question the
organization’s depth.

For the Flyers’ part, it seems they just need to dig deep
and try to carry over their outstanding efforts from the last two tilts against
the Pens and Islanders. On paper they clearly have the Panthers overmatched, so
it’s all about avoiding the trap.

Easier said than done. No team has played more dates in the
early part of their schedule than Philadelphia, who finished up their
season-long six-game road trip with an uber-intense encounter with a bitter
rival. Orange & Black will be skating for the 19th already, compared to 16
for Florida, or even 14 for the Boston Bruins in action elsewhere.

The uneven number of games played around the league muddles
the playoff picture in the standings a bit, but here’s what you need to know:
thanks to their recent surge, the Flyers can back to .500 with a win tonight
for the first time since the season began. After a 2-6 start, Philly is 6-3-1
for 13 of a possible 20 points in their last 10.

No word yet on whether it will be Ilya Bryzgalov or Brian
Boucher in net, nor do we have an update on Matt Read, who has four of his
seven goals against the Panthers this season. If Read can’t go, Tye McGinn will
likely be back in the lineup for the first time in two games. We’ll update as
we hear more leading up to 7 p.m. puck drop.

Update:

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Union see 4-game winning streak end in shutout loss to Real Salt Lake

Union see 4-game winning streak end in shutout loss to Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SANDY, Utah -- Joao Plata scored his first goal of the season and Real Salt Lake beat the Union, 1-0, on Saturday night to snap Philadelphia's club-record winning streak at four games.

Plata tapped in his goal in the 36th minute after quickly exchanging short passes twice with Jefferson Savarino. Tony Beltran got the play started by saving the ball just before it went over the goal line.

The Union (4-5-5) had a chance to tie it in stoppage time, but goalie Nick Rimando blocked Haris Medunjanin's belt-high free kick and Salt Lake (4-8-2) cleared it after a scramble in front of the net.

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made seven saves.

Howie Kendrick makes 4th rehab appearance in Lehigh Valley

Howie Kendrick makes 4th rehab appearance in Lehigh Valley

Howie Kendrick on Saturday night made his fourth rehab appearance in Triple A during Lehigh Valley's 13-1 rout of the Louisville Bats in Allentown.

Kendrick went 1 for 5 with a run scored and three strikeouts. He also grounded into a double play and left two runners in scoring position.

It was his second rehab game playing third base. He played third during his appearance in the IronPigs' 8-4 loss Thursday to the Indianapolis Indians. He was 0 for 1 in three plate appearances with a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice (see story).

The Phillies' plan for Kendrick was to have him play a minimum four games at Lehigh Valley. He played left field in two games and third base twice. Pete Mackanin said Wednesday that Kendrick would also get a game at first base but he hasn't gotten a game at first yet.

There is a chance Kendrick could be recalled Sunday before the Phillies’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds depending on how he feels.

Kendrick has been sidelined since April 15 with an oblique strain. In 10 games before the injury, Kendrick went 13 for 39 (.333) with five extra-base hits and four walks while exclusively playing left field.