Flyers Take a Trip South Through Old Folk Town, USA, Battle Tonight vs the Cats >

by Michael DeNicola

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013

The Flyers begin a three-game road swing in Florida tonight against the Panthers. After coming off an emotional win versus the New York Rangers, things may be looking up for the Orange & Black. 

Florida's front is seemingly having the same difficulty putting the puck in net as the Flyers, only scoring 2-goals in their last three contests. Brian Campbell stands alone as the top lamp buster, potting 2-goals and totaling 4-points thus far into the warped season. 

A new face sliding on the Flying 'P' crest is welcomed net-presence, 40-year old Mike Knuble. 

After Scott Hartnell took a blistering slap shot off his foot in our 0 - 3 loss to the Devils, GM Paul Holmgren broke the news that #19 will be sidelined for 4 - 6 weeks while recovering. Scotty underwent successful surgery on Friday for his broken foot, and the veteran Knuble will do his best to fill the role of trashman in front of the cage. 

The 'Noob has signed a 1yr, $750K contract with Philadelphia. 

Brayden Schenn is back in the lineup after serving his 1-game suspension for leaving his feet on a phantom charging call. Though Volchenkov seemed to recover almost instantly from the hit, wasn't injured, and no foul was called on the play, NHL Disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan still decided to drop his supplementary gavel on Schenn, now deeming him a "repeat offender" should Brayden get in trouble with the inconsistent patrolman. 

No word yet on whether or not Schenn's taking his spot on Giroux's right wing, but considering how our front line (Simmonds-Giroux-Read) skated in Thursday's victory, I cannot imagine that Laviollete is about to breakup that trio. 

Look for either Sestito or Shelley to be a healthy scratch, and Schenn to take the center position on the 3rd line combination. 

Speaking of which, a fourth line combo in Tom Sestito, Scott Laughton, and Eric Wellood could turn out to be a gritty, speedy line. Sestito's dangle through Lundqvist's slot on Thursday night surprised all the onlookers. It's about time the toughguy buries his first NHL rubber. Laughton is one open shooting lane from getting his first career goal as an NHLer. Tonight is his fifth of five games before Holmgren decides whether or not to send him back to Juniors. The 19-year old skater seems to have proven he's worth keeping around and burning a season off his ELC. 

Keeping attention on the youngins -- Tye McGinn has been nothing less than impressive since being called up from Adirondack last week. His use on special teams, as well as his domination in his first NHL tilt, shows that the 22-year old winger skates beyond his years. If kept on board, McGinn will serve a rookie season with the Big Club. Tonight, he'll more than likely skate along side Schenn as his center. 

Bryzgalov is coming off an outstanding performance in net against the Rangers, sporting a 0.947 save percentage, allowing only one goal on 27-shots. 

The franchise netminder was no doubt one of the game's three stars. He'll more than likely need to put up similar numbers against the Panthers who've averaged 27.5-shots on the opposing net through their first four contests. 

The good news is, Florida's allowed an average of 37.25-shots on their cage per game. Our boys absolutely need to take full advantage of the Panthers' porous defense by eliminating all the fancy puck passing, fire the rubber on net, and establish an aggressive forecheck from the get-go. Keep the puck in their zone. We must show the same hunger we had versus the Blueshirts. That's the type of game our roster needs to continue playing to win.

Puck drops at 7:30 ET, televised on CSN Philadelphia. 

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