GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (19-6-9-4) at Florida Panthers (12-16-9-2).
TIME: Friday, 5 p.m. EST.
This current road trip hadn't been very successful for the Philadelphia
Flyers -- until they reached St. Louis.
Philadelphia hopes to build on its most impressive win of the season when it
faces the improving Florida Panthers.
After going winless on their first four stops (0-2-1-1) on an eight-game
trip, the Flyers scored five power-play goals -- one shy of the franchise record
-- Tuesday in a 7-2 rout of St. Louis.
Mark Recchi and Jeremy Roenick each had two goals and an assist for
Philadelphia, which remains first in the Atlantic Division despite a 5-4-4-3
record in December.
"Wins have been hard to come by, but we haven't been discouraged," Flyers
center Keith Primeau said. "We didn't do as well in December as we did in
November, but we found a way to salvage and accumulate points. We think we've
weathered the toughest part of our schedule."
With a goal and an assist Tuesday, Philadelphia hopes right wing Tony Amonte
has broken out of a monthlong slump. Amonte had just two goals and six points
in 15 games in December before Tuesday's rout.
Mike Comrie has made an impact in three games with Philadelphia, scoring one
goal and setting up two others. Comrie was acquired from Edmonton on Dec. 16
for minor-league defenseman Jeff Woywitka, a 2004 first-round draft pick and a
third-round pick in 2005.
The Flyers, winners of six straight in Florida, are 12-3-2 against the
Panthers since the start of the 1999-00 season.
Roberto Luongo stopped 40 shots Wednesday, as Florida skated to a 2-2 tie at
Viktor Kozlov and Mike Van Ryn scored for the Panthers, who are unbeaten in
three straight (1-0-2) and have recorded at least one point in 14 of 18 games
"We wanted to win," Panthers coach Rick Dudley said. "Our guys wanted to
win badly. I thought that was evident. We played hard all game."
Improving their play at home is imperative if the Panthers plan to return to
the playoffs for the first time since 1999-00. Florida was the NHL's worst home
team in 2002-03, but has been much better this season, going 7-7-5-1, including
a current six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3).