Florida Panthers

Flyers show a playoff quality yet again but may have been dealt a costly injury to Travis Sanheim

Flyers show a playoff quality yet again but may have been dealt a costly injury to Travis Sanheim

BOX SCORE

The Flyers don't stay down for long.

Once again, they got right back up from a tough-to-stomach loss, this time beating the Panthers, 6-2, Thursday night at BB&T Center.

Eleven different Flyers scored, led by three-point games from James van Riemsdyk (one goal, two assists) and Justin Braun (three assists). Along with van Riemsdyk, Tyler Pitlick, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Scott Laughton, Sean Couturier and Robert Hagg netted goals.

The Flyers (32-19-7) hold a four-point edge over the Hurricanes for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. They are one point back of third place in the Metropolitan Division and a tiebreaker out of the first wild-card berth (see standings).

The Panthers (30-21-6) lost twice to the Flyers this week, falling five points behind the orange and black in the wild-card race.

• The sign of a postseason team is quickly burying losses or ugly performances.

The Flyers have done exactly that as the stretch run has heightened. In the games following their last six defeats, the Flyers are 6-0-0 and have outscored the opposition 31-15, while they haven't dropped consecutive games since Jan. 4-7.

"Obviously you're going to lose some of the games, but it's never about effort," Jakub Voracek said Monday. "I think we've done a good job so far this year when we hit a skid, we find a way out as soon as we can. We don't let it slide for a long period of time, which obviously haunted us in the past."

• If there was any damper on the Flyers' night, it came in the form of a potential injury to Travis Sanheim.

The 23-year-old defenseman was dinged up in the second period, favoring his leg. He played briefly during the first minute of the third period and then never took the ice again. However, Sanheim did stay on the bench throughout the final frame.

Sanheim has played big minutes for the Flyers and is projected to finish with a career-high double-digit goals. Losing him for any period of time would be costly.

• van Riemsdyk is heating up again with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in the last 13 games. The winger has been the team's leading goal-scorer since the start of December with 12 markers and the Flyers are 20-4-0 when he records a point.

• Carter Hart was superb. He stemmed the tide with a clutch save early during the third period when the Panthers were pushing after cutting the deficit in half with goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Hart also converted 11 saves in the first period. On the road, the Flyers have desperately needed timely stops in the opening stanza and Hart provided them.

Florida came in scoring the NHL's third-most home goals per game with 3.82. Hart got the best of it to pick up his first road win since Nov. 10.

With the Blue Jackets last season, Sergei Bobrovsky went 4-0-0 against the Flyers. Over a span of four days this week, the Flyers took down Bobrovsky twice with six goals in four periods. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was yanked by head coach Joel Quenneville after the first 20 minutes Thursday night.

• Now that was a quality first period in another team's building.

The Flyers, who have allowed an NHL-most 44 goals during the opening stanza on the road, chased Bobrovsky with three goals. Hart held Florida scoreless and the Flyers built momentum off of his big saves.

Goals from Pitlick and Aube-Kubel ballooned the Flyers' advantage to 3-0.

Pitlick mentioned how he could look like the 2017-18 Pitlick and the 28-year-old winger has followed through with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in fewer than 12 minutes per game.

Aube-Kubel was called up by the Flyers out of necessity in mid-December and has kept himself here with consistent effort through 25 games. 

• Shayne Gostisbehere (left knee) missed his fourth straight contest after returning briefly Feb. 6 following a 10-game absence.

The defenseman underwent arthroscopic surgery Jan. 14 and has needed more time to feel back to 100 percent.

• A loving gesture from the Flyers.

• The Flyers stay in Florida to play the Lightning Saturday (4 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Tampa Bay is 21-2-1 since Dec. 23. However, the Lightning's leading scorers Nikita Kucherov (lower body) and Steven Stamkos (lower body) did not play in the team's 3-1 win Thursday.

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Flyers at Panthers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Panthers: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Once again, the Flyers are looking for a strong response.

After a gut-wrenching 5-3 loss Tuesday to the Islanders, the Flyers (31-19-7) are back at it Thursday when they visit the Panthers (30-20-6).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: BB&T Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

Thursday is a big night for the Flyers. The Islanders are in action, the Blue Jackets open a back-to-back set and the Hurricanes are off before hosting the Metropolitan Division's last-place team the Devils Friday.

The Flyers enter Thursday holding the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot and a 58 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com. They are three points behind the Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Blue Jackets for the first wild-card berth, two points up on the Hurricanes and three ahead of the Panthers.

Yeah, it's busy.

• As disheartening as the loss was Tuesday, Flyers fans can take solace in how the team has gotten back up this season.

Just recently, the Flyers lost to the Penguins, 4-3, in overtime on Jan. 31 and then beat the Avalanche, 6-3, the very next night. They were blown out by the Devils, 5-0, at home last week and answered with a 7-2 thumping of the Capitals two days later in the nation's capital.

The Flyers haven't lost consecutive games since Jan. 4-7.

And another positive: On one day of rest, they've scored the NHL's second-most goals per game at 3.77 to go along with a plus-29 goal differential.

• Florida is 2-4-1 in February with an NHL-high 25 goals allowed.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Carter Hart has timely return, lineup decision coming and Flyers notch big win in NHL standings over Panthers

Carter Hart has timely return, lineup decision coming and Flyers notch big win in NHL standings over Panthers

BOX SCORE

The Flyers got their No. 1 goalie back and gained ground in the standings Monday night as they picked up a 4-1 win over the Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Since Jan. 13, the Flyers are 8-2-1 with an NHL-high 40 goals.

The Flyers (31-18-7), who entered the action with a 57.6 percent chance to make the playoffs, per Hockey-Reference.com, grabbed hold of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. Alain Vigneault's team is one point out of third place in the Metropolitan Division (see standings).

The Flyers also earned their 19th win in 28 home games so far (19-5-4). Last season, they won 19 in 41 home games (19-18-4).

The Panthers (29-20-6) are now five points behind the Flyers in the wild-card race.

• Carter Hart was back between the pipes after missing nine games because of a right lower abdominal strain.

He looked like himself with 30 saves on 31 shots. Hart improved to 14-2-2 with a 1.65 goals-against average at home.

The 21-year-old will likely see Florida again Thursday in Sunrise.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who came in 15-3-1 with a 2.13 goals-against average and .928 save percentage lifetime against the Flyers, made 30 saves.

• When James van Riemsdyk produces, he is one of the Flyers' biggest difference-makers. The team is 19-3-0 when he records a point.

JVR scored his 16th marker of the season and tacked on an assist. If he goes on one of his goal streaks, he could finish with around 25 tallies. The Flyers would absolutely take that.

• Morgan Frost wasn't sharp in the first period with his decision-making and finished with a so-so game.

Joel Farabee is ready to return Tuesday and the Flyers would be silly to not put him back in the lineup. Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Connor Bunnaman have played well, giving the Flyers what they want on the fourth line.

Maybe the Flyers send Frost back to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley after this two-game stint with the big club to open a spot for Farabee. The Flyers don't have to make a roster move, but it would allow Frost to play more minutes and continue to develop with the Phantoms, while Michael Raffl could shift to center.

Regardless, the Flyers will have a decision to make for Tuesday. It might come down to Frost or Bunnaman.

• The Flyers held the Panthers' dangerous duo of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov to a combined one assist.

The Flyers' penalty kill went 5 for 5. However, their power play was 0 for 5. The officiating wasn't the best.

• As the Flyers fell behind and looked off during the opening 10 minutes, Ivan Provorov scored a huge goal to allow them to go into first intermission tied at 1-1.

With the marker, Provorov picked up his 27th point. Last season, he put up 26 points.

Flyers defensemen were strong Monday. Everyone was steady, while Travis Sanheim added another goal against Bobrovsky and Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun had an assist apiece.

• Claude Giroux scored an empty-net goal and has four points in his last two games after going scoreless in the previous four.

• Health updates on Farabee and Shayne Gostisbehere (see story).

• In the midst of their 12th back-to-back set out of 17, the Flyers visit the Islanders Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). New York is the only Metropolitan Division team the Flyers haven't beaten (0-1-1).

 

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