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Red-hot Flyers visit slumping Panthers

by Brian Compton

FLYERS (33-25-3) at PANTHERS (24-28-10)

Last 10 -- Philadelphia 7-3-0; Florida 2-7-1.

Season series -- This is the fourth and final meetings between the teams. Florida has won two of the first three, including a 4-1 victory on Dec. 21, 2009, at the Wachovia Center. Three of the Panthers' four goals came on the power play.

Big story -- The Olympic break did absolutely nothing to slow down the Flyers. They steamrolled the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 7-2 victory on Tuesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum for their fifth straight win. Philadelphia scored five times in the third period.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- By earning a spot on Team Canada, center Mike Richards established himself as an elite player in the League. He showcased his skills for the fans in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, tallying a goal and three assists in the Flyers' rout of the Lightning.

''He's an amazing player,'' Flyers forward Dan Carcillo said of Richards. ''He's a superstar in the League.''

Panthers -- Florida came stumbling out of the gate following the Olympic break, losing 4-2 at Atlanta on Tuesday night. Scott Clemmensen got the nod in goal as coach Pete DeBoer opted to give Tomas Vokoun an extra day of rest after his work with the Czech Republic in the Olympics. Vokoun had also started the Panthers' 21 previous games before the break.

''Obviously, I was rusty,'' Clemmensen said. ''It was a tough start.''

Who's hot -- Flyers forward Jeff Carter has scored a goal in five consecutive games. … Booth scored his first goal since Oct. 4 on Tuesday night and added an assist.

Injury report -- The Flyers received some bad news on Tuesday when they learned a hip injury has ended Ray Emery's season. The team's No. 1 goaltender was 16-11-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average. Oskars Bartulis was sidelined Tuesday due to a groin strain and Danny Syvret is working his way back from a shoulder injury. … Panthers forward Nathan Horton (fractured left tibia) is questionable.

Stat pack -- Philadelphia will miss playing Tampa Bay. The Flyers outscored the Lightning 22-7 in four games this season, while Richards had five goals and 11 points.

Puck drop -- "It's not good. It's not something that I expected to happen. I'm 27 years old, and didn't even think I had played my best hockey so far. But, things pop up, and you have to work through them. The next step is to get it fixed and then after that I have to work to get back." -- Flyers goalie Ray Emery, who will undergo season-ending hip surgery


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