Flyers-Panthers Preview


The short-handed Philadelphia Flyers have alternated losses and wins over their last five games, but they've been a little more consistent against their next opponent, especially on the road.

The Flyers will try to add to their recent success at the BankAtlantic Center when they visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Philadelphia (28-14-5) has had trouble finding its groove for much of the past month, going 8-7-2 since a season-high seven straight wins. The Flyers have especially struggled for consistency over the last week and a half while failing to win consecutive games.

They were unable to accomplish that feat Sunday with a 6-5 shootout loss to visiting Boston. Scott Hartnell's hat trick in the second period gave his team a lead, but Philadelphia needed Max Talbot's power-play goal with 9:22 remaining in regulation to earn a point.

"I thought our guys gave everything they had tonight," coach Peter Laviolette said. "We did a couple of things wrong and it ended up working against us. Overall, I though the effort was some of the best I've seen all year."

Already without captain Chris Pronger for the rest of this season, the Flyers lost Danny Briere to a concussion and Jaromir Jagr to a lower-body injury during a 4-1 win in New Jersey on Saturday. James van Riemsdyk is also on the list of concussed players along with Pronger and Briere, who is out indefinitely.

Jagr's status is unknown because of the nagging injury that has kept him out of consecutive games on three other occasions.

"I think that's just part of it," Laviolette said. "The guys that we've called up have done the job."

The Flyers' replacements will try for another solid performance against the Panthers (22-15-10), who ended a season-high four-game skid with a 4-3 shootout win over Winnipeg in the finale of a three-game trip Saturday.

Mikael Samuelsson scored in the seventh round, and leading scorer Kris Versteeg had two goals and an assist after recording one point over his previous nine games.

"We just needed a win. It didn't matter what the shot count was or what happened out there," said Scott Clemmensen, who made 41 saves.

Florida, 11-5-6 at home, is 4-6-4 in its last 14 overall, and a visit from the Flyers wouldn't seem to help. Philadelphia, which is 17-7-2 on the road, has won three consecutive games over the Panthers - all at the BankAtlantic Center.

Matt Read converted a key penalty shot early in the third period of Philadelphia's 3-2 victory in Florida on Nov. 13, and Ilya Bryzgalov allowed one goal over 59:52.

Bryzgalov has struggled over his last 11 games, going 4-5-2 with a 3.48 goals-against average. He's 3-0-1 with a 1.68 GAA in four career starts against Florida, while Sergei Bobrovsky is 2-1-0 with a 3.14 GAA versus the Panthers.

Bobrovsky is 4-2-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his last seven appearances and might be across the ice from a struggling Jose Theodore if he starts Tuesday. Theodore is 1-3-1 with a 3.29 GAA in his last seven games but 4-1-1 with a 2.38 GAA in his last six against Philadelphia.

Clemmensen has won three of four versus the Flyers while posting a 2.67 GAA.

Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (lower-body injury) and forward Jack Skille (upper body) are doubtful for Florida.