The Panthers are coming off a pair of lopsided victories on the road and can win three games in a row tonight for the first time since Jan. 11-15. Prior to winning its last two contests, Florida had suffered three straight shootout losses and the club has now recorded a point in each of its last six games (3-0-3).
Despite losing Thursday in Tampa, Philadelphia also enters tonight on a point streak, going 3-0-2 over its last five trips to the ice.
The Flyers, who are 4-1-1 as the visiting team this year, are playing the middle portion of a three-game road trip this evening. Philly will complete the swing tomorrow night at Carolina.
Florida has scored 10 goals over its last two games and is coming off Thursday's 5-2 triumph in Winnipeg. Former Flyer Kris Versteeg notched the first hat trick of his career and added an assist to help lead the Panthers to the rout at the MTS Centre.
"Nice to get that and it's nice to get it in a win," said Versteeg. "Nice to get both of these road wins and now it's back home for us."
Versteeg, who leads Florida with eight goals and 17 points this year, had seven goals and four assists in 27 games with Philadelphia last season. He was acquired by the Flyers a few weeks prior to the trade deadline last February, but was then dealt to Florida this summer for a pair of draft picks.
Scottie Upshall, another ex-Flyer, will miss tonight's game after suffering an upper body injury on Thursday. Upshall spent parts of three seasons with Philadelphia from 2007-09.
Florida is just 2-1-3 as the host this year and will try to snap a three-game losing streak on home ice tonight.
The Flyers were dealt a 2-1 overtime loss by the Lightning on Wednesday in a game that became a hot topic of news and social media outlets after the contest turned into a chess match of sorts.
With Tampa Bay using a 1-3-1 scheme -- leaving one defenseman way back in its own zone while not putting any pressure on Philadelphia at the other end -- the Flyers at times during the first period simply held the puck in their own end while waiting for the Lightning to attack. That brought about several stoppages from the referees and many boos from the fans in attendance.
The game eventually opened up a bit, with Marc-Andre Bergeron scoring in the third period to force overtime for Tampa Bay and rookie Brett Connolly netting the game-winner at 2:30 of the extra frame.
The game also marked the return of Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger. The team captain had sat out the previous seven games with an eye injury and led his club with 25 minutes, 22 seconds of ice time.
Philadelphia won three out of four meetings against Florida last year and the Flyers have taken five of nine overall in the series. Philly has won two in a row and four of the last seven matchups in Sunrise.