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Power Play on Fire as Panthers Host Flyers

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

11/19/19 Morning Skate

11/19/19 Morning Skate

Interviews with Joel Quenneville and forwards Frank Vatrano and Dominic Toninato.

  • 01:20 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers will look to ride their red-hot man advantage to another two points in the standings when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at BB&T Center on Tuesday.

With at least one power-play goal in each of their last nine games, the Panthers (10-5-5) have gone 11-for-31 with the extra attacker in that span, propelling their power play all the way up to fourth in the league at 27 percent - a shade better than last season's franchise record of 26.8.

"It's a lot of fun to be a part of that group, especially when you're finding ways to help your team win games," Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle said of the streaking power play. "It's not like you're getting goals that don't matter. We're scoring big-time goals when we need it most."

It was a pair of goals on the power play that helped the Panthers to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday in Sunrise. Fueled by their fifth-ranked offense - which is averaging 3.55 goals per game -- they've won three of their last four games and sit third in the Atlantic Division.

Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in scoring with 27 points, including six goals and 13 assists over his last 12 games. Aleksander Barkov is right behind him with 25 points, while Yandle, who was named "Third Star of the Week" on Monday, leads the club's defensemen with 18 points.

Yandle and Huberdeau are also tied for the team-lead in power-play points with 11 each.

"No matter which players you're seeing out there with the puck, one guy is as dangerous as the next guy," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of the team's top power-play unit. "It's tough for the opponents to cover, and they're having fun right now with it. There's a lot of different looks."

In a move that should add some depth scoring behind those big guns, Dominic Toninato was recalled from AHL Springfield on Monday and will be in the lineup tonight against Philadelphia.

Earning his first recall of the season on Nov. 6, the 25-year-old forward played in three games and recorded one goal and dropped the gloves for one fight with Florida before being sent back to the AHL on Nov. 11.

"It's great [to be back in the NHL]," said Toninato, who was acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche in June. "I went down there, played a couple games, had some points and got better. I'm excited to be back here and get things going again."

Toninato is expected to be deployed on the fourth line with Noel Acciari and Colton Sceviour.

"You've got to take it a day at a time," Toninato said. "You've got to keep working, keep trying to get better and show them what you've got. I'm excited to be here. It should be a good game tonight."

Quenneville said the Panthers have been impressed with Toninato's play since training camp.

"We felt that he brought a lot of pace to his game," Quenneville said. "I think he's got real intelligence in his purpose around the rink. He can kill penalties, take faceoffs, can play that checking role, which he was doing down in Springfield. When he came up here, I thought he did a really good job. He didn't get a long look, but he got an opportunity at the right time, and now here he is. He got rewarded by how he's playing."

The Flyers (10-6-4) are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss against the New York Islanders on Saturday and arrive in South Florida looking to shake out of a three-game losing streak.

Still, thanks in large part to a string of strong efforts on defense, they've managed to earn at least one point in eight of their last nine games. Led by 21-year-old goaltender Carter Hart in net, Philadelphia has surrendered no more than two goals in six of its last seven contests.

Over his last six games, Hart, who is expected to be between the pipes and matchup against Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky tonight, boasts a 4-1-1 record with a .934 save percentage.

"We need to get to the net," Panthers winger Frank Vatrano said of the team's approach on offense tonight. "Obviously they have a young goaltender. For us, we need to try to take his sight away. We need to get to the net, be hard in the paint and be hard on their defensemen."

While the Flyers currently rank among the league's top-10 teams in both total defense (2.80 goals allowed per game) and penalty killing (84.2 percent), they also boast more than a few dangerous players on the offensive side of the puck.

In addition to mainstays like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier, up-and-comer Travis Konecny paces the team in points (19), while Oskar Lindblom has the most goals (9).

"They're playing well," Quenneville said. "They've got balance in their lineup. In their defensive zone, they play tight around the net. They've got some guys that can make plays individually; their power play's still good. They're consistent in how they play, and they're in every hockey game. Their goalie's been good. Let's be ready for tonight's game. It's a dangerous team."

The Panthers have won each of their last two meetings with the Flyers.

NOTES

-- Keith Yandle enters tonight's matchup riding a five-game point streak, notching one goal and nine assists in that span. The 33-year-old leads Florida's defensemen in points (18), including 16 assists, which are the third-most among the league's blueliners.

-- Mike Hoffman enters tonight's matchup on a four-game point streak, posting two goals and three assists in that span. The 29-year-old has tallied 15 points this season (eight goals, seven assists). He also leads the Panthers in shots (58) and is tied for first in power-play goals (5).

-- Aaron Ekblad has posted eight points (two goals, six assists) over his last 14 games. The 23-year-old defenseman has notched 10 points (two goals, eight assists) this season, while also leading the Panthers in average ice time per game (24:22).

-- Aleksander Barkov ranks second on the Panthers in points (25). His 19 assists lead the team and rank tied for fourth in the league. The 24-year-old has nine multi-point games this season.

-- Evgenii Dadonov ranks first on Florida in goals (10) and tied for third in points (18). Producing at a point-per-game pace over his last 11 games, he has six goals and five assists in that span.

-- Anton Stralman leads the Panthers in blocked shots (30).

PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Brian Boyle - Vincent Trocheck - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Denis Malgin - Mike Hoffman

Dominic Toninato - Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour

Defensemen

Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson - Anton Stralman

Mark Pysyk - Josh Brown

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratches: MacKenzie Weegar (upper-body), Jayce Hawryluk (upper-body)

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

- Nov. 19: F Dominic Toninato was recalled from AHL Springfield.

- Nov. 19: F Dryden Hunt was loaned to AHL Springfield.

IN-ARENA ACTIVATIONS

- 50/50 Raffle

- Nacho Tots Tuesday

- Panther Conservation Night

- Fans who download the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science Mobile Application will be able to take part in an augmented reality educational experience throughout the game. You can read more about augmented reality and the museum's Panther Prowl Exhibit HERE.

BITE OF BB&T CENTER

-- Mexican Pizza for $11 at Select Concession Stands

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN

When: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL

TV: FSF

Stream: FOX Sports GO

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

Tickets: HERE

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