Florida Panthers vs. Philadelphia Flyers - 4/8/14
Philadelphia Flyers (40-29-9) at Florida Panthers (28-43-8)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm (BB&T Center)
The Line: Florida Panthers +148 / Philadelphia Flyers -163 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
Losers of six of their last seven games the Philadelphia Flyers needed a win in the worst way on Sunday night. With that now out of the way the Flyers will look to wrap up a playoff berth with a win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. Philadelphia was slumping and sliding down the standings but their play really wasn't all that terrible. The Flyers have been competing but they've struggled to score goals of late and their defense isn't strong enough to survive that. On Sunday night they had a much easier opponent to deal with than they've been seeing recently, but the Flyers took advantage of it. Philadelphia came out with their foot on the gas in this one against the Buffalo Sabres and they didn't let off until it was well out of reach. The Flyers outshot Buffalo 14-5 in the first period and Matt Read's 21st goal of the season gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. In the second period it was a much needed barrage of goals for the Flyers who got tallies from Zac Rinaldo, Brayden Schenn, and Vincent Lecavalier to up their lead to 4-0 after two periods. Schenn would add his second goal of the night in the third as the Flyers cruised to the 5-2 win. Tuesday night would be a great time for the Flyers to lock up this playoff berth because with match ups against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning to follow it's no sure thing they'll come away with wins. The last thing the Flyers want is for this to come down to their final game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes, a team with nothing to lose. This has been a strange match up for the Flyers when they play the Florida Panthers but with everything they've got on the line we should expect to see the Flyers at their best in this one. Steve Mason and the troops really need to start focusing on playing better hockey so they can head into the post season feeling confident. The Flyers will need that confidence if they end up playing the New York Rangers, a club that has had their number in recent years. Schenn contributing Sunday was also nice to see because right now Philadelphia needs goal scoring from wherever they can get it.
For the Florida Panthers it's all about playing spoiler and this young group did an outstanding job of that on Sunday night against the Dallas Stars. Losers of five straight and eight of their last nine games there was absolutely no reason to believe the Panthers were going to take down a Dallas club that was fighting for their playoff lives. Less than a minute into the second period when the Stars took a 2-0 lead everything looked very much like was expected. But then the Panthers found some push back. Scottie Upshall scored to get Florida on the board and with under a minute remaining in the period it was Brandon Pirri with his 12th goal of the year to knot the game up. Dallas fired 16 shots on goal in the third period but Roberto Luongo stopped them all and with under five minutes to play it was Sean Bergenheim who ultimately scored the game winner in the 3-2 comeback. This is a club that has a lot of very good young pieces and now with Luongo in goal there's a foundation being built. If there's a way to get some more reliable veterans in the fold this offseason and build up the defense corps this team has the potential to be pretty good moving forward. Tuesday night they'll just be looking to play spoiler, but that might not be the case this time next year.
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This has been a series where the road team always seems to play well. Philadelphia is 5-1 their last six trips to Florida and the road team is 9-3 the last 12 meetings overall. There's just too much on the line in this one for the Flyers to come up empty, especially with the two teams they've got on deck. Expect Philadelphia to take care of their buisness.