Philadelphia (33-25-3) at Florida (24-28-10)

  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Wed Mar 3, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Flyers entered the Olympic break as one of the NHL’s hottest teams. The Florida Panthers were one of the coldest.

Despite two weeks off, little appears to have changed.

The Flyers will try for a season-high sixth straight win Wednesday night against the Panthers, losers of seven in a row.

In its first game following NHL’s Vancouver Games hiatus, Philadelphia didn’t miss a beat. The Flyers blew out Tampa Bay 7-2 in Tuesday night’s resumption of a four-game road trip.

“We just came with a lot of jump, they took a lot of penalties there in the third and I think it hurt them,” said forward Dan Carcillo, who had both a goal and an assist for just the second time in his career. “And luckily we capitalized.”

The Flyers (33-25-3) broke open a tie game with five unanswered goals in the third period, including two from Simon Gagne(notes). Philadelphia, which opened its extended trip with a 6-2 win at Montreal on Feb. 13, has outscored the opposition 22-10 during its five-game winning streak.

The Flyers last won six in a row Nov. 15-26, 2008.

Jeff Carter(notes) has six goals during the current streak. Gagne, Scott Hartnell(notes), Claude Giroux(notes) and Mike Richards(notes) have added six points apiece.

Richards, a gold medal winner with Canada along with Flyers teammate Chris Pronger(notes), had a goal and three assists in Tuesday’s victory. He hasn’t scored in 18 career games against the Panthers - one of just four teams against which he’s never had a goal.

“He’s an amazing player,” Carcillo said of Richards. “He’s a superstar in the league.”

Despite losing goaltender Ray Emery(notes) to season-ending hip surgery, the Flyers haven’t missed a beat with Michael Leighton(notes) in net. The 28-year-old journeyman is 5-2-0 with a 1.85 goals-against average in seven straight starts and hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of those games.

Leighton is winless in four career games against the Panthers (24-28-10), but could end that drought against a team that’s been outscored 22-8 during a 0-6-1 skid, its worst since losing 12 straight Oct. 27-Nov. 23, 2005.

Making his first appearance since Dec. 27, Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen(notes) suffered a 4-2 loss in Atlanta on Tuesday as he allowed all four scores in the first 34:47.

“Obviously, I was rusty,” he said. “It was a tough start.”

Clemmensen could be starting more frequently if rumors are correct heading into Wednesday’s trade deadline. Panthers starter Tomas Vokoun(notes) could waive his no-trade clause depending on which team is attempting to strike a deal.

Given its situation, one of those teams might be Philadelphia, against which Vokoun has a win and a loss this season.

Even if the goaltending situation may be in flux, Florida has bigger problems on the offensive end. Currently playing without second-leading scorer Nathan Horton(notes) (fractured tibia), the Panthers have scored two goals or fewer in 14 straight games. Horton is not expected to return until next week.

David Booth(notes) scored his first goal in eight games since returning from a concussion in Tuesday’s loss. Florida’s leading goal scorer in 2008-09, Booth has found the back of the net in three of his last five games against the Flyers.

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Wednesday, Mar 3