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Bobrovsky Expected to Play in 500th NHL Game as Panthers Visit Flyers

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

2/10/20 Morning Skate

2/10/20 Morning Skate

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forward Frank Vatrano and defenseman Anton Stralman.

  • 01:15 •

Sergei Bobrovsky is back where it all began.

After breaking into the league with the Philadelphia Flyers almost a decade ago, the veteran goaltender is expected to suit up in the 500th game of his distinguished NHL career when the Florida Panthers face off against his former team at Wells Fargo Center on Monday night.

Prior to joining the Panthers on a seven-year contract this past summer, Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder in both 2013 and 2017, had appeared in 457 career regular-season games split between Philadelphia (2010-12) and Columbus (2012-19).

In that span, Bobrovsky established himself as one of the top goaltenders in the league, posting a 255-153-37 record with a 2.46 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and 33 shutouts.

By taking the ice tonight, he will become the 75th goaltender to compete in 500 NHL games.

"He's one of the elite goalies of our game," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said after today's morning skate. "He's had an amazing career. We think that experience that he brings our team is going to be important going down the stretch here. He's had some great runs in a few different places. Obviously 500 [games played] is a pretty good achievement for goaltenders."

Bobrovsky has started each of the last eight games for the Panthers, registering a 4-3-1 record to improve to 20-15-5 on the season - the eighth-most wins in the league. Over his last two road starts, the 31-year-old owns a 1.97 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

In 19 career appearances against the Flyers, Bobrovsky's gone 15-3-1 with a pair of shutouts.

"We're going to need him playing a lot of games as we finish off this season," Quenneville said. "A big milestone for goalies. He's got a heck of a career going, and we want to see it continue."

After stringing together six straight wins heading into the All-Star break, the Panthers have gone 1-3-1 coming out of it. That being said, the team appeared to turn in a corner in Saturday's hard-fought loss to Pittsburgh at BB&T Center, a game that they certainly played well enough to win.

Despite the 3-2 final, Florida ended up finishing the contest with sizeable advantages over the Penguins in shots (35-22) and shot attempts (64-42), according to NaturalStatTrick.com. They also led 21-19 in scoring chances, including six that came from high-danger areas on the ice.

Over the last 11 games, Florida has gone 7-3-1, including a 4-1-1 mark on the road.

"That was a step forward," Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman said. "Usually when you lay an egg the night before, you don't get what you deserve the next game either. That's something we have to learn as a team. You can't give away games like that because it comes back to you."

Sitting at 29-19-6, the Panthers currently trail Toronto by two points for third place in the Atlantic Division, but also have two games in hand on the Maple Leafs. In the wild card race, they trail Carolina by three points with one game in hand for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers, however, are also vying for one of those final spots into the playoffs.

At 30-18-7, Philadelphia is also three points ahead of Florida with one more game played. After tonight's tilt, the Flyers and Panthers will close out their season series on Thursday in Sunrise.

"Our hope is to obviously be in [the playoffs] in our division and fight it out with Toronto and hopefully not end up in a wild [card] spot," Stralman said. "But, all in all, all of the games right now are important. We made a lot of ground before the break that we lost now… We've got some work to do. We realize where we are and how important every game is going to be."

The Flyers enter tonight's matchup with wins in eight of their last 12 games, including a 7-2 win at Washington on Saturday. In that win, Sean Couturier nabbed first-star honors after posting two goals and one assist, which also increased his team-best point total to 49 (15 goals, 34 assists).

Over his last 10 games, Couturier has recorded three goals and 10 assists.

"They're coming off a game where they played outstanding against Washington," Quenneville said of Philadelphia. "They did a lot of good things. We know the importance of points here. It seems every team we're playing right now, we're fighting for the same space in the standings."

Returning from an abdomen injury, Carter Hart is expected to be between the pipes for the Flyers tonight. Making his first start since Jan. 13, the 21-year-old has posted a 15-11-3 record with a 2.61 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and one shutout during his sophomore campaign.

In the only previous meeting between the two clubs this season, Hart was pulled from the game after surrendering four goals on 18 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Panthers in Sunrise on Nov. 19.

"He's been cleared to play," Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's had some work -- not a lot of work -- but he's had some work in a couple of practices, so he should be fine for today." The Panthers have won their last three games against Philadelphia.

PANTHERS NOTES

-- Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers in scoring with 68 points (19 goals, 49 assists), a number bolstered by his team-leading 20 multi-point performances. The 26-year-old winger also ranks fourth in the league in power-play points (26) and third in power-play assists (22).

-- Aleksander Barkov ranks second on Florida in scoring with 54 points (16 goals, 38 assists). The 24-year-old center also leads the team with a 54.1 faceoff win percentage, including an impressive 20-for-27 (74.1 percent) performance in the dot against Pittsburgh on Saturday.

-- Evgenii Dadonov has found the back of the net nine times over his last 15 games to push his team-leading goal total to 23. The 30-year-old winger also paces the Panthers and is tied for seventh in the league in power-play goals (10).

-- Mike Hoffman ranks second on Florida in goals (21) and third in points (45). The 30-year-old winger has recorded at least one point in 13 of his last 15 games, notching eight goals and 10 assists in that span.

-- Noel Acciari ranks fourth on the Panthers with a career-high 18 goals. In addition to his offensive numbers, he also ranks first among the league's forwards in blocked shots (82).

-- Mark Pysyk has registered nine points (five goals, four assists) over his last 14 games. On Feb. 3, the 28-year-old hybrid skater recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career in Florida's 5-3 win at Toronto, pushing his goal total on the year to a career-high seven. -- Keith Yandle ranks first among Florida's defensemen with 39 points (five goals, 34 assists). The 33-year-old is also tied for fourth among the league's blueliners in power-play points (20).

-- Aaron Ekblad leads Florida in average ice time per game (22:54). The 24-year-old registered the 200th point of his NHL career on Feb. 3 in Toronto, becoming just the third defenseman in franchise history to reach that mark. Of his 29 points this season, 14 have come on the road.

-- Frank Vatrano has recorded 10 points (five goals, five assists) over his past 10 games.

-- The Panthers rank fifth in the league in goals per game (3.50).

PROJECTED LINEUP (Unconfirmed)

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly - Vincent Trocheck - Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano - Dominic Toninato - Mike Hoffman

Jayce Hawryluk - Colton Sceviour - Mark Pysyk

Defensemen

Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman - Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson - MacKenzie Weegar

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratches: Denis Malgin, Josh Brown, Brian Boyle (upper-body)

Injured Reserve: Chris Driedger (lower-body)

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

- Jan. 30: G Sam Montembeault and D Riley Stillman were recalled from AHL Springfield.

- Jan. 22: G Sam Montembeault and D Riley Stillman were loaned to AHL Springfield.

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Monday, Feb. 10, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Wells Fargo Arena - Philadelphia, PA

TV: FSF (Alternate Channels Below), ESPN+

DirecTV: 654-1

AT&T: 721

AT&T HD: 1721

Stream: FOX Sports GO

Panthers Radio Network: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 640 WMEN (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys) 1370 WAXE (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Streaming 932

Territory on Tap Locations: HERE

Official Watch Party: Bokamper's Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale

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