Game 11 Preview: Flyers open November by facing Panthers

Steve Mason gets his first start in goal in four games as the Flyers face the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)
Last season, it was the site of the game where the Flyers clinched a playoff spot. For this season's Flyers, the first game against the Florida Panthers opens the month of November.
After a tough October schedule, the Flyers managed to escape with a solid 4-4-2 record. The Panthers are 3-2-3 on the young season.

The Flyers and Panthers will face-off from the BB&T Center starting at 7 p.m.

The Flyers come in with a very different look as players return from injury. Vincent Lecavalier returns to the lineup on the second line. It appears that Jason Akeson will be joining Blair Jones as healthy scratches.

All lines have changed as a result with the exception of the top line, featuring Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Michael Raffl. Raffl has four goals in his last three games. Voracek leads the league in assists with 12.

Defensively, new signing Carlo Colaiacovo won't be ready for Saturday's game, giving Brandon Manning another start. The pairings remain the same as they were on Thursday.

With the Flyers three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, Steve Mason gets the start in goal for the first time in four games. Mason is still winless on the season, posting an 0-3-1 record and 3.83 GAA in five starts this season.

The Panthers have been a surprising team record-wise and that is mainly a testament to their defense. There are no offensive standouts early in the season – Brad Boyes and Jussi Jokinen are tied for the team-lead with four points.

Veteran defensemen Erik Gudbranson and Brian Campbell are a big reason for the success on the blue line, but a new face is already making an impact. 18-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, is playing in his ninth NHL game and looks like he will stick around following the 10-game period where the Panthers can decide to return him to juniors.

The Panthers also made some interesting signings over the offseason, adding Shawn Thornton and Dave Bolland.

Derek Mackenzie, Sean Bergenheim and Jonathan Huberdeau are scoring threats for the Panthers as well.

In goal, the Panthers will start Roberto Luongo, who has a 3-2-2 record and 2.33 GAA in seven starts. 

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (9th, T-15th on road), Panthers (23rd, T-22nd at home) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (27th, 30th on road), Panthers (28th, 26th at home) 
  • The Flyers won two of the three games against the Panthers last season. The Flyers picked up a 2-1 win on Oct. 8 and a 5-2 win on April 8. The Flyers lost to the Panthers on Nov. 25, falling 3-1. 
  • Milestone Watch: Luke Schenn needs one point to reach 100 for his career. R.J. Umberger needs one assist for 200 in his career.

Flyers scratches: Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald, Carlo Colaiacovo, Blair Jones

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: R.J Umberger-Vincent Lecavalier-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Brayden Schenn-Sean Couturier-Matt Read
Line 4: Zac RinaldoPierre-Edouard Bellemare-Chris VandeVelde 

D-Pair 1: Nick Grossmann-Mark Streit
D-Pair 2: Michael Del Zotto-Nick Schultz
D-Pair 3: Brandon Manning-Luke Schenn

Goalie: Steve Mason

Where to Watch

Radio: 93.3 WMMR

Kevin Durso is the Managing Editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.