The Philadelphia Flyers picked a good time to be on the road - at least weather-wise - when they visit the Sunshine State for a back-to-back that begins Thursday night at the Florida Panthers. It may not be the best time for Philadelphia to square off with the Panthers, who are riding a season-high three-game winning streak.
The wildly inconsistent Flyers have dropped three of four, including a back-to-back to start off the current four-game road stretch. Philadelphia had won six in a row prior to the latest stumble, a winning streak that came on the heels of a 10-game slide. Florida made it three straight wins by blanking Ottawa 1-0 behind 38 saves from James Reimer, and coach Bob Boughner knows how important it is for his team to start making a move in the Atlantic Division. “When we get back, we realize the job we have in hand,” Boughner told reporters. “We got to play a little bit of catch-up in the standings.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN Philadelphia, FSN Florida
ABOUT THE FLYERS (15-13-8): Michal Neuvirth, who has missed a month due to a lower-body injury, was activated off injured reserve Tuesday and that could lighten the load on Brian Elliott after he made 11 consecutive starts in net. Captain Claude Giroux continued his hot streak by setting up the lone goal in Saturday’s shootout loss to Columbus, giving him two goals and 12 assists in the last nine games. He had a goal and an assist in Philadelphia’s win over Florida in October.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (15-16-5): Center Vincent Trocheck, who leads Florida in goals (14) and is tied with Jonathan Huberdeau with a team-high 35 points, was back at practice Wednesday. Trocheck, who has 12 points in his last 11 games, had to exit Saturday’s game and underwent X-rays after taking a puck to the ribs in the third period. “He’s that guy. He just keeps going,” Boughner told reporters. “He’s a warrior and it’s great that he’s had good news. He’s a big part of what we’re doing here.”
1. The Flyers routed visiting Florida 5-1 on Oct. 17 to run their winning streak in the series to five games.
2. Panthers G James Reimer, who has made nine straight starts, is 3-4-3 with a 2.56 goals-against average versus Philadelphia.
3. Flyers leading scorer Jakub Voracek has 14 points over the last 10 games.
PREDICTION: Flyers 4, Panthers 3