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Banged-up Flyers, Panthers meet in Florida

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (1-3-0) at PANTHERS (1-3-0)


Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the teams this season, and the only one in Florida. The Flyers won three of four games last season, and have won five straight in Florida. The Panthers' last home win against the Flyers was Oct. 16, 2009.

Big story: Injuries have forced the Flyers to sign 40-year-old forward Mike Knuble and recall defenseman Andreas Lilja from the AHL. The Panthers are having their own injury issues, as three key forwards sat out practice Friday.

Team Scope:

Flyers: The Flyers couldn't even enjoy their first win of the season Thursday, as the game was marred by the severity of Scott Hartnell's injury and the loss of defenseman Andrej Meszaros.

Hartnell, tied for sixth in the League last season with 37 goals, was ruled out for 4-8 weeks with a broken first metatarsal in his left foot. And on the final shift of the second period, Meszaros sustained a shoulder injury that will sideline him for a month. Meszaros had spent the lockout recovering from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon sustained over the summer.

Knuble, who had been with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on a professional tryout contract, signed Friday and likely will be in the lineup Saturday. Lilja, who was waived and sent to the AHL during training camp, was recalled Friday to add depth behind Kurtis Foster and Bruno Gervais.

Panthers: With just seven goals in its first four games and three straight losses, Florida couldn't afford to lose more important offensive pieces, but that's what happened Thursday, when Stephen Weiss sustained a lower-body injury prior to the game against Ottawa and Tomas Fleischmann suffered a skate cut to his foot during the game.

With Kris Versteeg already out with a groin injury, the Panthers likely will be without their top line for Saturday's game against the Flyers.

"All those players right now are question marks for [Saturday]," coach Kevin Dineen told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "We're cautiously optimistic that they're going to be short-term injuries."

Who's hot: Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist Thursday against the Rangers, his first multi-point game since March 29, 2012.

Injury report: In addition to Hartnell and Meszaros, the Flyers are missing Danny Briere (wrist) and Zac Rinaldo (leg). … Beside the injuries to their top-line players, the Panthers also are missing forwards Marcel Goc (ankle) and Sean Bergenheim (groin), as well as defenseman Erik Gudbranson (shoulder).

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