(SportsNetwork.com) – The Florida Panthers are getting points as they struggle
to score goals.
The Panthers put a five-game point streak on the line Saturday night as they
play host to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Florida followed up a 2-0-2 road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Arizona
Coyotes on Thursday. That win came five days after the Panthers capped the
trip with a overtime loss to the Coyotes and put the club at 3-2-3 on the
Brandon Pirri scored in a third straight game and Scottie Upshall recorded the
winning goal with 9:04 remaining in regulation. Upshall scored just after he
finished serving a penalty for charging, moving in on goal following a pass
from Tomas Kopecky before putting a back-hand shot into the net.
“I’ll take a penalty like that if the (penalty kill) stands up like it did and
I get one out of the box,” Upshall said. “It was a big goal for us.”
Roberto Luongo made 32 saves and has posted a 2.32 goals against average with
a .926 save percentage in seven starts this season.
Luongo’s play is a key reason that the Panthers have secured as many points as
they have despite having scored two goals or fewer in seven of their eight
games. The lone exception was a 4-3 overtime win at Colorado on Oct. 21.
Florida’s scoring depth took a hit in Thursday’s win as center Aleksander
Barkov left the game with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day.
The Flyers, meanwhile, have been held to fewer than three goals just twice in
10 games and forward Jakub Voracek is tied for the league lead with 15
points while pacing all NHL skaters with 12 assists. Pittsburgh’s Sidney
Crosby and Toronto’s Phil Kessel also have 15 points this season.
Voracek had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay
Lightning as Philadelphia had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl added a goal each and Claude Giroux had two
assists to give him 11 on the year.
“Obviously it’s a tough loss, but I think the game overall was better than the
result,” said Voracek, who has four straight multi-point games, the first
Flyer to do so since Simon Gagne had five in a row from Feb. 8-17, 2007.
Ray Emery, who had been in net for each game of the recent winning streak,
took the loss despite making 28 saves. Steve Mason expects to start tonight
looking for his first win of the season.
Philadelphia announced after Thursday’s loss the signing of free agent
defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo. He practiced on Friday, but is not expected to
debut in this game.
Colaiacovo has 401 games of NHL experience, but appeared in just 25 games with
St. Louis last season and six with Detroit the campaign before.
Philadelphia, though, will get forward Vinny Lecavalier back from a left ankle
injury that has caused him to miss the last seven games. He has a goal and
three points in three games this season after notching 37 points in 69 games
The Flyers have won eight of their past 12 versus the Panthers, including six
of the last seven in Sunrise.