Flyers hope to extend win streak vs. Panthers

Published March 08, 2012

| Sports Network

The Philadelphia Flyers will try to post their second- place Florida Panthers tonight at Wells Fargo Center.

Philadelphia earned its third straight victory Tuesday night against visiting Detroit, giving the Flyers their longest win streak since a season-high, seven-game stretch from Dec. 2-15.

The Flyers are currently seeded fifth in a tight race for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is two points behind Pittsburgh for the fourth seed and two in front of sixth-seeded New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the Panthers, who have won four of their last six games, are leading the Southeast Division by two points over Winnipeg.

The Flyers retired former defenseman Mark Howe's No. 2 sweater on Tuesday before recording a 3-2 regulation win over the Red Wings, but it wasn't all good news for the home team, as Philadelphia lost both Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr to injuries.

Voracek scored a goal on Tuesday before leaving the game following a crushing hit in the second period by Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Voracek received stitches on his upper and lower mouth after taking Kronwall's shoulder shot to the head, but it's unclear if the Flyers forward suffered a head injury. Philadelphia will wait and see how Voracek is on Thursday morning and he must also pass a baseline test.

Jagr left the game with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day but unlikely to play tonight. In other injury news for Philadelphia, defensemen Kimmo Timonen (back) and Andrej Meszaros (lower body) are expected to sit out for the third straight game tonight.

Maxime Talbot's short-handed goal in the second period proved to be the difference in Tuesday's win. Ilya Bryzgalov also made 37 saves for the Flyers and is 6-2-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average over his last 10 games.

"I think for us to finish a game like this, protecting the lead in the last minute against a team like Detroit, is huge for confidence down the road," said Talbot.

Claude Giroux also had a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, bringing his team-high point total to 77 points.

The Flyers are 16-10-5 as the host this season and will play two straight and four of their next five games on the road.

Florida ended a two-game slide on Sunday, defeating the visiting Ottawa Senators in a 4-2 decision at BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but scored three times in the second to take control of the contest.

"When you get as thoroughly outplayed as we did in the first period, I feel like there has to be some kind of response," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said. "I thought the response was extremely strong."

Jack Skille recorded a goal and an assist for the Panthers, while Marcel Goc, Krystofer Barch and Mikael Samuelsson also lit the lamp. Scott Clemmensen stopped 23-of-25 shots for Florida, which is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

Former Flyer Kris Versteeg will not make the trip to Pennsylvania, as he is still dealing with a lower-body injury. Versteeg, who is leading Florida with 49 points this season, had seven goals and four assists in 27 games for Philadelphia last year before getting dealt to the Panthers last summer.

Versteeg, who has missed the last four games, faced the Flyers twice in Sunrise this season and recorded one assist over those meetings.

Florida is 15-13-4 as the road club this year and is beginning a two-game tour of the Keystone State tonight. The Panthers will visit Pittsburgh tomorrow before heading south for a four-game homestand.

The Flyers have won four straight and five of their last six games against the Panthers. Florida has taken two of the last three encounters in the City of Brotherly Love.

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