The Flyers are
hoping to make it four in a row tonight as they host the Florida
Panthers, who currently sit in first place in the Southeast Division
despite technically being below .500. Such is the state of southern
hockey, as well as the parity of a league with a scoring system that
awards points for overtime losses. The Panthers currently have one fewer win than either of the divisional foes directly below them, but on the
strength of 12 OTLs, hold a two-point lead in the division, putting
them in third place in the conference seedings.
Every game thread about a not-so-great team should include some
mention that they're still good enough to win tonight, which is all we
really care about. Their 31 wins did not all come against the
Hurricanes. However, like the Flyers, the Panthers will take the ice
without some key players.
Leading scorer and former Flyers rental Kris Versteeg is out, as
is Scottie Upshall, who hasn't seen action since these teams played in
January. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is out with a bad knee.
the Flyers, there's been a snowball effect with injuries starting to
pile up. JVR, Kimmo, and Big Mesz are still out, and it appeared Jaromir
Jagr and Jake Voracek would each miss at least one game after each were taken
out in the battle with Detroit, although Timmy P. seems to think Jagr will give it a go. Harry Z was called up for forward
relief, and defenseman Brandon Manning was also invited for coffee.
Interestingly, the Flyers have actually played some good defense
while two of their back line pillars have been out. Ilya Bryzgalov is
playing his best hockey as a Flyer, and the marking's been tighter in
front of the net, the forechecking fairly aggressive (and, importantly, effective).
The Flyers have won both previous matchups this season, and another one is on the calendar later in the month.
Can Bryz give the Panthers the silent treatment?