Flyers-Panthers: Game 37 Preview

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(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

After taking a break for the holidays, the Flyers are back on the ice to continue their four-game road trip in Florida.

The Flyers will see teams at both ends of the standings in this back-to-back, starting with the Florida Panthers, who while being on the lower end of the standings aren't too far behind the Flyers. In the meantime, the Flyers look to get back into the winning column on a regular basis after dropping three of their last four games.

Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Florida Panthers GP G A P
Jake Voracek 36 8 36 44 Vincent Trocheck 36 14 21 35
Claude Giroux 36 13 29 42 Jonathan Huberdeau 36 12 23 35
Sean Couturier 36 16 16 32 Aleksander Barkov 35 11 21 32
Shayne Gostisbehere 33 7 20 27 Evgenii Dadonov 28 7 14 21
Wayne Simmonds 36 11 10 21 Keith Yandle 36 3 18 21
 
Player to Watch
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 11 Jonathan Huberdeau
Last 5 Games: 3 G, 2 A, 5 P, -3 Last 5 Games: 3 G, 0 A, 3 P, -1
 
It says a lot for Shayne Gostisbehere's season that he's already matched his goal total from the previous season and is just 12 points off of last season's total in less than half the games played. He's also been one of the Flyers top point producers of late, with three goals and two assists in the last five games. Playing in his home state at an arena near where he grew up provides even more incentive. Gostisbehere had a four-game point streak prior to the Flyers loss in Columbus on Saturday.
 
Jonathan Huberdeau only played in 31 games last season, so his presence was lost for much of the season. This season, he's returned to form, on pace to put up career numbers for the Panthers. Huberdeau has three goals in the Panthers last two games. Huberdeau has four goals and seven points in 12 career games against the Flyers.
 
Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 34 James Reimer
13-8-7, 2.59 GAA, .916 SV% 9-9-4, 3.15 GAA, .908 SV%

There has been one constant to all of the Flyers games in December. Brian Elliott has been in goal. That trend continues on Thursday, as Elliott gets the start against the Panthers, his 12th straight in goal for the Flyers. Elliott was solid in goal for the Flyers in back-to-back starts last weekend, making 33 saves in the loss to Buffalo and 35 in the shootout loss to Columbus. 

James Reimer has been Florida's go-to guy with Roberto Luongo sidelined with injury. Reimer's on a roll of late with wins in his last three starts, including a 38-save shutout against Ottawa in his last start on Dec. 23. 

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Brandon Manning

Scratches: Mark Alt, Jordan Weal

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 11 Travis Konecny
12 Michael Raffl 19 Nolan Patrick 93 Jake Voracek
22 Dale Weise 51 Valtteri Filppula 17 Wayne Simmonds
15 Jori Lehtera 21 Scott Laughton 20 Taylor Leier
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
8 Robert Hagg 47 Andrew MacDonald  
6 Travis Sanheim 3 Radko Gudas  
Goalie    
37 Brian Elliott    

Lineup Notes

The Flyers used the same lines and defensive pairings as they did in Columbus. There were several changes to the Flyers lines prior to their final game before the holiday break and they will give those combinations a second look on Thursday.

Panthers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Roberto Luongo, Ian McCoshen

Scratches: Dryden Hunt, Radim Vrbata

Left Wing Center Right Wing
11 Jonathan Huberdeau 16 Aleksander Barkov 27 Nick Bjugstad
63 Evgenii Dadonov 21 Vincent Trocheck 62 Denis Malgin
88 Jamie McGinn 90 Jared McCannn 23 Connor Brickley
18 Micheal Haley 17 Derek MacKenzie 7 Colton Sceviour
Defense    
3 Keith Yandle 5 Aaron Ekblad  
19 Michael Matheson 13 Mark Pysyk  
52 Mackenzie Weegar 6 Alex Petrovic  
Goalie    
34 James Reimer    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (15th, 7th on road), Panthers (T-22nd, 19th at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (29th, 17th on road), Panthers (17th, 22nd at home) 
  • Recent History vs. Panthers
    • Oct. 17, 2017 – Flyers 5, Panthers 1 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Panthers
    • Valtteri Filppula – 20 GP, 6 G, 11 A, 17 P
    • Claude Giroux – 32 GP, 7 G, 13 A, 20 P
    • Shayne Gostisbehere – 5 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 P
    • Brian Elliott – 9 GP, 6-2-0, 2.32 GAA

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 93.3 WMMR