The Florida Panthers head into tonight’s meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers hoping to end a five-game losing streak. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that’s easier said than done. Florida has the worst goals against average in the league and now faces a Flyers team that has scored a total of 13 goals in their past two games.
The Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-5 on Wednesday, just two days after they embarrassed the New York Islanders in a 7-0 victory. This recent scoring spree has them seventh in the league in goals per game, not something the Panthers can be happy about facing with the way things have gone as of late.
Florida was shut out by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, the latest in a series of disappointing losses. Top goaltender Jose Theodore continues to struggle, and has managed just four wins in twelves appearances. His goals against average of 3.37 seems bad until it is compared to the 4.33 mark sported by back-up Scott Clemmensen.
The Panthers recalled top prospect Jacob Markstrom from the AHL San Antonio Rampage today, and have yet to announce a starter for tonight’s game. Markstrom has a 16-15-2 record with the Rampage this season.
A lack of scoring across the board continues to slow any momentum this Panthers team tries to build, and a lack of help on the defensive end has ensured that whoever ends up between the pipes is going to see a lot of rubber. The Panthers have given up at least 32 shots in each of their last three games, and will need to try and slow down the likes of Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Claude Giroux and Danny Briere if they have any hope of beating the Flyers.
Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov allowed five goals on Wednesday after a shutout on Monday, so the Panthers would be wise to test him early and often.