Some people were calling Tuesday night's win against the Tampa Bay Lightning the most impressive of the season. It was impressive, indeed, especially considering the way the Bolts were playing entering the game. But I don't think it was more impressive than that time they dropped seven goals on the Florida Panthers. Yeah, that was impressive.
Florida Panthers (3-5-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (4-6-0)
7:00 p.m. | Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, Pa.
TV: CSN Philly, FS Florida | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Florida perspective at Litter Box Cats
The Panthers are in town this Thursday evening for the second of three games against the Flyers on the year, and they're struggling just as much as they were when the Flyers embarrassed them at BB&T Center nearly two weeks ago.
They're 3-5-1 through nine games and have an awful minus-11 goal differential. They're the worst team in the NHL when it comes to their even strength goals for/against ratio. They're 21st on the penalty kill and 12th on the PP, so just middle of the road in terms of special teams overall.
I suppose the worst part is that they're only a point behind the Flyers in the standings and could leap frog them with a win tonight at the WFC, but we'll worry about that if it happens.
The Flyers have looked good in their last two against Southeast Division opponents, and they obviously have a good track record against this Florida team. I don't expect seven goals again, of course (... so maybe this headline was hyperbolic ...), but I do expect the power play to keep improving and the Flyers to build upon their last two wins.
Panthers fans say that the team has "dramatically shifted out of the red" since that loss to the Flyers, and they've gone 2-1-1 since, but I'll hold firm in believing that the Flyers are still a better hockey team. I'm expecting a win tonight. Also, dramatically shifting out of the red when your team wears red jerseys seems like a silly business decision. /bad jokes
Ilya Bryzgalov will be in goal, more than likely, because he's good at hockey and highly paid and all that. Jose Theodore will be in goal for Florida according to the Miami Herald. Wayne Simmonds is still out because concussions suck.
Florida's Projected Lineup
Fleischmann - Weiss - Mueller
Huberdeau - Shore - Versteeg
Kopecky - Goc - Skille
Matthias - Smithson - Parros
Campbell - Gudbranson
Weaver - Kulikov
Kuba - Strachan
Scratches: Kovalev, Ellerby
Flyers Projected Lineup
McGinn - Giroux - Briere
Read - Couturier - Knuble
Rinaldo - Schenn - Voracek
Fedotenko - Talbot - Sestito
Timonen - Schenn
Coburn - Gervais
Grossmann - Foster
Questions to Answer
1. How many goals does Tom Sestito score tonight?
2. The Flyers' defense was vastly improved Tuesday in limiting Tampa's time and space with the puck. More of the same tonight vs. the Panthers?
3. Jonathan Huberdeau has points in his last three games. Can the Flyers limit him?
4. This isn't a question, really, but I have a feeling Tye McGinn scores a goal tonight. So there's that.
5. Brayden Schenn hasn't seen the ice much in recent games. Can he break out and earn some extra time tonight?