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Mason, Flyers play host to Panthers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers hope Steve Mason can build off his first win of the season, as the goaltender garners a third straight start in Thursday's home clash against the Florida Panthers.

Mason entered this season as Philadelphia's No. 1 netminder, but began losing starts to Ray Emery after a rough opening to the campaign. He began 2014-15 with an 0-4-1 record before finally breaking through with a win in Tuesday's game against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

On Thursday, Mason and the Flyers hope to get payback against the Panthers, who recorded a 2-1 win over Philadelphia in Saturday's meeting in the Sunshine State. Mason stopped 28-of-30 shots in the tough-luck loss, while Florida's Roberto Luongo made 36 saves for the win. Saturday's win was the Panthers' fourth in their last six meetings with the Flyers.

Florida also has taken four of the past six encounters in Philadelphia, but the Flyers halted a three-game home slide in the series when the clubs last met in the City of Brotherly Love on Oct. 8 of last season. Mason stopped 33- of-34 shots in that victory.

Mason anchored Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Oilers by stopping 35-of-36 shots, while Jakub Voracek tallied twice to lead the Philly's offense.

Voracek has recorded a point in six straight games, notching three goals and eight assists over that span. He is second only to Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby this season with 18 points.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Luke Schenn also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who kicked off a four-game homestand with the lopsided win.

"We had a really good first period," Voracek said. "We were cycling the puck very well and when we're skating good things happen and we were in the right spot and scored two goals."

Philly is 3-1-2 as the host this season and has won its past three at Wells Fargo Center.

Although the Panthers won their second straight game in Saturday's meeting with the Flyers, Florida followed with Tuesday's overtime setback in Boston. Brad Marchand scored the winner with 1:33 to play in OT to give the Bruins a 2-1 victory.

Marchand took a pass from Dougie Hamilton and skated down the middle, making a move to get around Dylan Olsen before switching back to the forehand and wristing it into the left corner for his fifth goal of the season and the win.

Jussi Jokinen scored for the Panthers, while Luongo stopped 23 shots in defeat.

"It was a hard-fought battle," said Luongo. "It's a tough building to play in. We battled hard again. We were very disciplined. We didn't take any penalties tonight, which was really good. It came down to overtime. Their guy made a hell of a play on the goal."

The Panthers have played the last two games without forwards Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim and Jonathan Huberdeau. Barkov (lower body) is questionable for Thursday, while Bergenheim (lower body) and Huberdeau (illness) are expected to miss another game. Fellow forwards Dave Bolland (lower body) and Brandon Pirri (concussion) are on injured reserve and won't play tonight.

The Flyers are still playing without defensemen Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald and Kimmo Timonen and forward Michael Raffl will be sidelined for the next six weeks after getting injured while blocking a shot on Tuesday. Raffl has six goals and one assist in 12 games this season.

Florida, which fell to 2-0-4 as the guest on Tuesday, is expected to go with Luongo in net again on Thursday. The veteran backstop is 6-7-2 with a 3.06 GAA in his career against the Flyers.

Mason is 6-2-0 with a 1.62 GAA versus the Panthers.