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Berube makes NHL coaching debut against Panthers

by Adam Kimelman /

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


Season series: The Florida Panthers won two of the teams' three meetings last season, including both games at Wells Fargo Center. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in a shootout Feb. 7 and took a 5-2 victory Feb. 21.

Big story: It's the first game for new Flyers coach Craig Berube, who was promoted to the top spot when Peter Laviolette was fired Monday. Part of his job is helping ignite an offense that has scored three goals -- one at even strength -- in the first three games.

Team scope:

Panthers: A day after their 7-0 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, the Panthers spent a day off in St. Louis, taking in an NFL game, and then traveled to Philadelphia on Monday, ahead of their game Tuesday at the Flyers.

Coach Kevin Dineen said it was a conscious decision to stay on the road.

"I felt going to a football game would be a nice way to just spend some time together," Dineen told the Miami Herald. "We talked about spending some time away before the season started, but with nine days to start the season, we thought we should find something on the road trip."

What Dineen mostly hopes his team finds is an attitude that won't allow a repeat of what happened Saturday.

"We all have to take ownership in this one," Dineen said of the loss to the Blues. "It was a butt kicking. We have to move on, get ready for the next one. We have a lot of games left on this trip. We have to be better. I'm not fooling myself or these guys. They are smart guys. They know what the difference in the game was."

Flyers: At his introductory press conference Monday, new coach Craig Berube said better team defense would be something he would focus on. However, igniting an offense that has three goals in three games -- and only one at even-strength -- also is a need.

The team's top line of Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek has combined for zero points and a minus-2 rating. Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier also were held off the score sheet in the first three games.

Berube said he believes that offense will return with a commitment to better play away from the puck.

"I believe that we need to play better without the puck," he said. "When you play good hockey without the puck, the team comes together and you do the right things to get the puck back and you keep the puck out of your net. Right now we need to stress that and do a better job of it. We need to take pride in it. … When you don't play well without the puck, you don't score goals."

Who's hot: Panthers forward Marcel Goc has two goals in his first two games. … Brayden Schenn and Luke Schenn have scored two of the Flyers' three goals this season.

Injury report: The Panthers are missing defenseman Ed Jovanovski (hip), and forwards Steve Pinizzotto (hip), Nick Bjugstad (concussion) and Sean Bergenheim (abdominal surgery). … The Flyers have a healthy roster.


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