Philadelphia Flyers vs. Florida Panthers – Game Preview

April 9th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Flyers, General, Hockey.

Date/Time/Channel- 04/08- 07:30 PM EST- CSN Philly
Site: BB&T Center
Head-to-Head Match-up- Season Series Tied 1-1. Florida beat Philadelphia at home on November 25th 3-1, while at home Philly won 2-1; four games in
Starting Goalies- Steve Mason (Philadelphia)- 32-18-7, 2.52 GAA, .916%, 4 SO
Roberto Luongo (Florida)- 5-6-1, 2.45 GAA, .923%, 1 SO

Injury Report

*Philadelphia

No Player Date Status Injury
43 Marc-Andre Bourdon Sep 11 Injured Reserve Post-concussion syndrome
9 Steve Downie Mar 23 Day-to-Day Upper-body injury
20 Chris Pronger Sep 11 Injured Reserve Post-concussion syndrome

-Not including forward Zac Rinaldo, who’s currently suspended for four games, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who’s a healthy scratch

Florida

No Player Date Status Injury
16 Aleksander Barkov Feb 16 Injured Reserve Knee
24 Brad Boyes Apr 2 Day-to-Day Back
11 Jonathan Huberdeau Mar 17 Day-to-Day Lower-body injury
82 Tomas Kopecky Feb 16 Injured Reserve Upper-body injury
72 Alex Petrovic Mar 16 Injured Reserve Upper-body injury

Lineup/Roster/Depth Chart

Philadelphia

Forwards

19-Scott Hartnell (A), 28-Claude Giroux (C), 93-Jake Voracek

10-Brayden Schenn, 12-Michael Raffl, 17-Wayne Simmonds

24-Matt Read, 14-Sean Couturier, 9-Steve Downie

15-Tye McGinn, 40-Vinny Lecavalier, 18-Adam Hall

Defensemen

44-Kimmo Timonen (A) & 5-Braydon Coburn

8-Nick Grossmann & 32-Mark Streit

47-Andrew MacDonald & 22-Luke Schenn

Goalie
35-Steve Mason

Florida

Forwards
20-Sean Bergenheim, 27-Nick Bjugstad, 24-Brad Boyes

14-Tomas Fleischmann, 67-Vincent Trocheck, 19-Scottie Upshall (A)

11-Jonathan Huberdeau, 15-Drew Shore, 17-Jesse Winchester

21-Krys Barch, 73-Brandon Pirri, 12-Jimmy Hayes


Defensemen

7-Dmitry Kulikov & 51-Brian Campbell (A)

44-Erik Gudbranson & 55-Ed Jovanovski (C)

4-Dylan Olsen & 47-Colby Robak

Goalie
1-Roberto Luongo

Analysis/Game Breakdown

Flyers’ forward/enforcer Zac Rinaldo was suspended for four games by the NHL yesterday for his hit in Sunday’s game vs. Buffalo’s Chad Ruhwedel. Forward Tye McGinn, thus, will take his place, until Rinaldo returns; which won’t be again in the regular season. Forward Steve Downie is back for the Flyers, on the third line. He missed the past two and a half weeks due to an upper-body/head injury; although a couple games during that stretch it seemed as if Craig Berube benched him as a healthy scratch, due to preferences/line combos. Downie will replace enforcer Jay Rosehill, who’s a healthy scratch for tonight’s game. Speaking of enforcer’s, as for Zac, the only way/games he’ll possibly be able to play in will be come playoff time, if the team makes it that far; his four-game suspension will end just as the regular season does.

Speaking of the playoffs, the Flyers can finally clinch a playoff spot with a win in tonight’s game. They’ve lost three out of their last four games, albeit one of the losses coming via a shoot-out to St. Louis a week ago.

McGinn has been struggling as of late, and thus team head coach Craig Berube decided to bench/scratch him for the past two games at Boston and vs. Buffalo. He has three goals/points in 14 games this season; just his second in the NHL since being drafted by Philly four years ago. Tye again will be centered by Vinny Lecavalier on the fourth line alongside fellow winger Adam Hall.

As for Lecavalier, he has four goals in his past six games, including a two-goal effort vs. Boston over a week ago. Lecavalier has 19 goals and 35 points in 65 games this season; his first as a Flyer after signing a multi-year deal with Philly this past off-season. If Vinny scores tonight, or at least once before the end of the season, he’ll have another 20-goal season; the 13th 20+-goal season of his 16-year career with Tampa/Philly.

While on the topic of scoring and points, Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux has slipped recently from being third in the NHL in scoring to sixth with 79 points; 25 goals and 54 assists. Giroux has zero goals and only one point in his past five contests. To give you an idea of how valuable Giroux is to Philadelphia’s success this year, in that time span the team has gone just 1-3-1. In order for the team to make a successful turn-around following that rough patch, Giroux will have to step up his play. He totaled four shots on goal and just 15 minutes of ice-time in the win on Sunday vs. Buffalo.

Philadelphia tonight will begin a three-game road trip, first off against Florida; who has the second-fewest point total in the league this year (just ahead of Buffalo). The Fly Guys need to come out strong from the get-go vs. a banged-up, inconsistent Florida team, and put forth a solid 60-minute effort as well. Incentives are in play for the former, as the division-rival Blue Jackets, for the third and final spot in the Metropolitan Division, are trailing Philadelphia by just two points. Both teams have four games remaining. Columbus is playing tonight as well, at home vs. Phoenix.

Both Philadelphia and Columbus are trailing the number-two team in the division, the New York Rangers; Philadelphia by two points and Columbus by four. New York owns the tie-breaker over both teams, with one-greater game played than the former two. All three are in action tonight, as New York is facing Carolina at home.

Forward Matt Read had a great game, both offensively and defensively, two nights ago vs. Buffalo. He compiled a goal and assist each for two points, along with a +2 rating, and one shot on goal in over 17 minutes of ice-time. Philadelphia had four players with multi-point nights; Mark Streit, Lecavalier, and Brayden Schenn. Read’s lone goal came on even-strength when he banged home, in the slot, a Mark Streit slap shot from inside the blue-line. That gave Philadelphia the 1-0 advantage; one that they never looked back from, albeit vs. a poor all-around team in Buffalo.

All things considered, a win is a win, and that’s a positive sign going forward for coach Craig Berube. They get another crack at facing an abysmal team tonight when they face Robert Luongo and the Panthers.

Steve Mason started both previous games this year vs. Florida, and went 1-1 in the process with an impressive GAA/SV% line of 2.03/.938. Luongo is playing in his 13th game of the season tonight for his new team in Florida, after playing in 54 previous games this year with Vancouver. Luongo’s lone-start vs. Philly this year came as a member of the Canucks on October 15th. In that game, he gave up only two goals and earned the team’s 3-2 victory to boot.

After a horrible start to the season by former-head coach Kevin Dineen (3-9-4), interim-head coach Peter Horachek is in his 64th game as head coach this year tonight; 25-34-4.

Florida comes into tonight’s game having lost five out of their last six games; their lone win in that time span coming two nights ago at Dallas. The Panthers scored only 1.4 goals/game in those five losses, while scoring three and winning 3-2 vs. Dallas.

Despite the poor power-play efficiency as of late at home for Philly, their road power-play units have been really strong all year long. They rank in the top three in the latter category, and in the top 10 overall. Florida, meanwhile, ranks dead last in the NHL on the power-play this year at 10.3%. Amazingly, they also rank dead last as well on the PK at 75.8%. Philly’s an equally strong team on the PK as well, as they rank sixth in the league this year at 84.9%.

Keys to The Game

-Don’t take Florida lightly
-Make Luongo work; win the rebounds and shots on goal battle
-Continue the strong road power-play efficiency

Player of the Game Prediction

Matt Read- LW

Game Prediction

Philadelphia wins 4-1

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