Flyers look to continue solid start vs. Panthers
Florida Panthers at Philadelphia Flyers
- Florida dropped a 4-3 decision in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, dropping to 0-2-0 on the road in 2017-18 (2-0-0 at home). The Panthers are just 2-9-1 (.208) away from home since March 1 last season -- second worst in the NHL.
- Philadelphia dismantled Washington, 8-2, in its home opener on Saturday night, and at 3-2-0 (.600), is off to its best start since beginning the 2011-12 campaign with a mark of 4-0-1 through five tilts. The Flyers are 7-0-1 in their last eight skates at Wells Fargo Center (dating to March 15 last season).
- The Flyers won all three meetings with the Panthers in 2016-17, with two of those contests needing extra time to decide a victor. Dating to the beginning of 2013-14, Philadelphia is 5-0-1 in its last six home games vs. Florida.
- Jonathan Huberdeau lit the lamp twice Saturday night, giving him three goals on the season, with all three being potted on the road. Huberdeau has failed to hit the score sheet in four straight games against the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
- Claude Giroux had two markers and two assists against the Capitals, scoring more points Saturday night than he did in the first four skates of the season combined (had three points in first four games). Dating to the beginning of 2014-15, Giroux has just four points (all assists) in his last nine games against the Panthers.
- Florida has allowed a power-play goal in each of its first four tilts in 2017-18. The only time in team history that the Panthers have allowed at least one PPG in more games to begin a season was 2002-03 (six straight).
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have a long way to go before proving they are a playoff team in the top-heavy Metropolitan Division, but their 8-2 beat-down of the Washington Capitals on Saturday night was a reminder they are capable of beating one of the best teams in the NHL.
"I think guys were just tired of not making the playoffs," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "Guys did a good job this summer getting themselves in good shape."
The Flyers (3-2-0) outskated their opponents through the first five games of the season. That speed will be tested Tuesday night when the free-wheeling Florida Panthers (2-2-0) come to town.
The Flyers are tied for fifth in the NHL with 21 goals, and their top line of center Sean Couturier, right winger Jakub Voracek and Giroux have combined for six goals and 16 assists.
"We're three guys that like to make passes, make plays, but when we have a chance to shoot, we need to shoot and go to the net," said Couturier, who is flourishing in his role as a top-line center after years of being used in a checking role.
While the Flyers are coming off their biggest win of the season in their home opener, the Panthers will look to bounce back from a 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Left winger Jonathan Huberdeau (three goals, two assists) picked up a pair of goals in the defeat. He and center Vincent Trocheck (two goals, two assists) are the only Panthers who have points in all four games.
Rookie right winger Owen Tippett, who was taken 10th overall by the Panthers in the 2017 draft, is expected to make his NHL debut against Philadelphia on the third line with center Jared McCann and right winger Jamie McGinn. Tippett, 18, racked up 44 goals and 75 points in 60 games with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL last season.
Panthers first-year coach Bob Boughner also shuffled his top two lines, removing right winger Evgenii Dadonov from the top unit. Right winger Radim Vrbata took Dadonov's place on a line with center Aleksander Barkov and Huberdeau, while Dadonov skated with center Nick Bjugstad and Trocheck.
Barkov, Huberdeau and Dadonov were a combined minus-11 in Florida's first four games.
"It doesn't matter what line we're playing on," Boughner said following practice Monday. "We need four lines to win."
Roberto Luongo (1-1-0) is expected to return to the net for Florida. The 38-year-old veteran is one win away from passing Curtis Joseph (454 wins) and moving into fourth place on the NHL's all-time victories list, behind only Martin Brodeur (691), Patrick Roy (551) and Ed Belfour (484).
"It's nice to be mentioned in the same sentence with guys like that, and I'll probably look back on it at some point," Luongo said. "But right now, I'm just trying to win games for this hockey team."
With two days off between games, the Flyers are expected to start Brian Elliott (3-1-0) at goalie.
Updated October 16, 2017