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Flyers return home to host Panthers

by John Kreiser

PANTHERS (4-7-4) at FLYERS (8-9-1)

TV: FS-Florida; CSN-Philadelphia

Last 10: Florida 3-3-4; Philadelphia 6-3-1

Season series: It's the third and final meeting. The teams have split the first two, with the road team winning both games. The Panthers won 3-2 in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center two weeks ago.

Big story: The road-weary Flyers are back home after splitting a six-game road trip thanks to a 7-0 win against the Islanders on Monday and a heart-stopping 6-5 victory in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. They play their next five at home. The Panthers have dropped five in a row and were listless in Monday's 3-0 home loss to Toronto.

Team Scope:

Panthers: In an effort to shake things up, GM Dale Tallon put out a call to Florida's AHL team in San Antonio for goaltender Jacob Markstrom, their second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft and the top goaltender in the Panthers' system. He's won eight of his last 12 starts with the Rampage and allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of his last 16 games.

"We have got to start putting him in the system and see if he can play some games and get some experience for him and we also have to stem the tide," Tallon told the team's website. "I'm not happy. It's a critical part of the season and every game is important now. We need to cut our goals against down. He's played great down there and now he's in his third year as a pro. It's time to see what he can do.

"I'm not going to sit still and allow this (not winning) to continue. We need him to come up and play like he's capable of playing, and I'm very confident in that he can do that."

Flyers: A road trip that looked like a disaster after Saturday's awful effort in a 4-1 loss at Montreal looks a lot better after the wins on Long Island and at Pittsburgh. The Flyers overcame an early 2-0 deficit against the Penguins, then blew a late 5-3 lead after getting into penalty trouble, only to see Jakub Voracek complete his first career hat trick by scoring the winning goal with 91 seconds left in regulation to give the Flyers one of the wildest wins of the season.

"Any time you finish the road trip like that with two big wins it's huge," said captain Claude Giroux, who finished with two assists. "Not just getting the win, but the way we're playing. We're happy with the way we're playing -- there's still things to work on, like mental mistakes that didn't hurt us tonight - but it's good to get a couple wins in a row."

Who's hot: Panthers rookie Jonathan Huberdeau has three goals in his last four games and leads the Panthers with six. … Voracek's hat trick came two days after he had four assists in the rout of the Islanders. Giroux, who called out his team after the loss in Montreal, has five points in two games.

Injury report: The Panthers are without forwards Kris Versteeg (upper body), Scottie Upshall (ankle; on injured reserve) and Sean Bergenheim (groin; IR), as well as defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who's still not ready to return from a knee injury. … Flyers forward Matt Read left Wednesday game with an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated Wednesday. Scott Hartnell (broken foot) was cleared to practice but is still at least a week away from returning. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) isn't expected back until late this month at the earliest.

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