Florida Panthers at Philadelphia Flyers Preview – 2/7/13

Matt Read scored a hat trick the last time the Flyers played the Panthers leading them to a 7-1 victory.Tonight the Philadelphia Flyers look to extend their 2-game winning streak into a 3-game winning streak when they take on the Florida Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:00 PM. The Panthers will be looking to avenge a 7-1 loss suffered back on January 26th. Matt Read scored his first career Hat Trick in that game.

The Flyers will be without Wayne Simmonds who is still recovering from a concussions suffered in the loss to the Washington Capitals last Friday. Tye McGinn hopes to continue his stellar play on the top line next to Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. Giroux has struggled a bit in the scoring department (only 3 goals) but is tied with Read as the leading goal scorer on the team. Read has not scored since the Florida game and is expected to be on the same line tonight as he was against Tampa Bay next to Sean Couturier and Mike Knuble. Tom Sestito scored both goals in the win over Tampa Bay and will be sharing a line with Maxime Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko again. Talbot has yet to score this season as it has been a team wide struggle on offense. Zac Rinaldo fired up the Flyers and their fans against the Lightning with a fight early in the game and will be next to Brayden Schenn & Jakub Voracek tonight.

Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal again for Peter Laviolette and will look to continue his hot streak. Bryzgalov is 4-5 on the season with a 2.24 Goals Against Average and has a .923 save percentage. In the NHL there’s only one goalie who’s had as much ice time as he and as a lower GAA and that’s Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators with a 1.33 GAA. Anderson is also the only goalie with a better save percentage as well.

The goalie has not been the problem but the lack of offense as the team is 22nd in the league averaging 2.3 goals per game. The power play has improved to 16th in the NHL but the penalty killing is still below the league average and is ranked at 22nd.

Flyers fans have long clamored for a top tier goalie and so far Bryzgalov has been that goalie. Now the rest of the team…and it’s captain…needs to back him up.

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Derek Sabato

Derek Sabato is a longtime Philly sports fan who founded HighPhive.com in July, 2012. His passion is the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles & Flyers. Rebounding to be a 76ers fan. He also runs and operates the @TheHighPhive on Twitter and The High Phive page on Facebook. He's very vocal about his Philly sports and his opinions. You can also follow him on his personal Twitter @DerekSabato.