Panthers try to build momentum versus Flyers
The Florida Panthers ended their longest losing streak of the season in their last trip to the ice and they'll attempt to close January on a high note when they host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at BankAtlantic Center.
The Panthers snapped a four-game slide with Friday's victory in Winnipeg, but that win was just the second of the month for Florida, which is 2-3-3 in January.
Friday's 4-3 shootout triumph over the Jets moved Florida one point ahead of Washington for first place in the Southeast Division. The Panthers may need a victory tonight to hold that position heading into the All-Star break, as Washington hosts Boston this evening in its final test before the hiatus.
Mikael Samuelsson delivered Friday's victory over Winnipeg with his goal in the seventh round of the shootout. The teams traded goals in the second and fourth rounds, but then, after Winnipeg's Alexander Burmistrov had his attempt poke checked away by Scott Clemmensen, Samuelsson raced down the center of the ice and lifted a wrister over the left shoulder of Ondrej Pavelec for the game-deciding goal.
The win also snapped an eight-game road losing streak for Florida.
"It is what it is, we just needed a win," Clemmensen said. "It didn't matter what the shot count was or what happened out there, we needed to get a win."
Kris Versteeg had two goals and an assist, while Mike Santorelli also scored in regulation. Clemmensen made 41 saves in the win.
The Panthers are beginning a three-game homestand tonight and will continue the residency next Wednesday against Washington. Florida is 11-5-6 as the host this season.
The Flyers are coming off a loss, but Philadelphia was at least able to record a point in Sunday's 6-5 shootout setback against visiting Boston. Philly trailed the typically stingy Bruins by a 3-1 count after one period before mounting a comeback. Tyler Seguin ultimately scored the winner in the shootout for Boston.
Scott Hartnell recorded a hat trick for the Flyers, giving him five goals in his last two games and a team-high 25 on the season. A six-time 20-goal scorer, Hartnell needs just five more markers to match his career-high of 30, which was set with the Flyers in 2008-09.
All-Star forward Claude Giroux also added three assists for the Flyers, while Ilya Bryzgalov finished with 32 saves in the loss.
"These were two very good two teams we played and it's a good two games because we got three points," Bryzgalov said about a successful weekend which also included a regulation win over New Jersey.
Philadelphia forwards Danny Briere (concussion) and Jaromir Jagr (lower body) both missed Sunday's game after getting injured Saturday against the Devils. Both players are expected to miss tonight and so is concussed forward James van Riemsdyk, who has sat out the last five tests with his head injury.
Philadelphia, which will open a three-game homestand after the All-Star break, has a strong 17-7-2 record as the road team this season.
The Flyers have won three straight meetings against the Panthers and all three of those wins have come on the road.