GAME: Florida Panthers (13-17-9-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (20-7-10-4).
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.
Back at the Wachovia Center following their longest road trip of the season,
the Philadelphia Flyers hope to continue their dominance of the Florida
Holding on to a four-point lead in the Atlantic Division, the Flyers are
coming off a brutal eight-game trip in which they finished 2-3-2-1, including
Wednesday's 1-1 tie at Buffalo.
"It's a little frustrating for us," said John LeClair, who scored
Philadelphia's goal. "A point is good, but we would have liked two."
Philadelphia has a good shot of starting its three-game homestand on a
positive note. Including two victories already this season, the Flyers are
13-3-1 against the Panthers since the 1999-00 season.
Playing its first game since losing 6-1 to Tampa Bay on Saturday,
Philadelphia came out strong in the first period Wednesday, outshooting Buffalo
17-2. However, the Flyers couldn't figure out Sabres goalie Martin Biron, who
finished with 44 saves.
"It seems to be the way the bounces are going," Jeremy Roenick said. "We
have to find ways to win these games."
Besides getting left wing Sami Kapanen back in the lineup after missing four
games with a bruised kidney, Roenick played a day after needing 26 stitches to
close a cut on his cheek after he was hit by an errant slap shot in practice.
The Panthers, who are starting a four-game road trip, ended their three-game
winless streak (0-1-2) with a 1-0 win over Columbus on Saturday.
Roberto Luongo made 42 saves to earn his third shutout of the season.
"It was one of those games where I felt great," Luongo said. "Some saves
felt a lot easier than they might have looked."
Luongo's performance couldn't have come at a better time for Panthers, who
played for the fifth time in eight days.
"We knew we wouldn't have our best stuff," Panthers coach Rick Dudley
said. "Fortunately we had a pretty good goaltender. If he's not an All-Star, I
don't know who is."