Florida at Philadelphia
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Thursday, December 18, 2014
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
After emerging victorious in an NHL-record 20-round shootout, the Florida Panthers would love nothing more than to keep their hot streak going when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. "The great thing is, I don't know how many times guys bailed me out where they had to score to keep it alive, and they did every time," said Roberto Luongo, who yielded five goals during the shootout as the Panthers posted a 2-1 victory over Washington on Tuesday. Luongo made 36 saves in Florida's 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia on Nov. 1, but the Flyers responded with a 4-1 win over the Panthers five days later.
While Florida flies into the City of Brotherly Love with points in six of its last seven games (4-1-2), Philadelphia saw its five-game point run (3-0-2) come to an end with a 3-1 setback to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Wayne Simmonds continued his hot streak by scoring a goal in his third straight game and has six in as many contests. Captain Claude Giroux set up Simmonds' tally versus the Lightning to increase both his assist and point streaks to four and six games, respectively.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Florida, CSN Philadelphia
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (13-8-8): After hitting the post in overtime, Nick Bjugstad did the same in the second round of the shootout before avenging his near-misses by beating Braden Holtby in the 20th. "The pressure wasn't really on me, which was nice, because I didn't have to score," Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. "I don't know. I kind of relaxed, took a deep breath and tried going in there with confidence, and it worked out." Bjugstad scored his team's lone goal against Philadelphia on Nov. 6.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (11-14-5): Vincent Lecavalier has been a high-priced healthy scratch for the past seven games but could return to the lineup as soon as Thursday. "I think that I have to give him opportunities with skill players, whether it's power play or whatever," coach Craig Berube said of the four-time All-Star and former Stanley Cup champion. "I like the lines where they are, so I don't know what I'll do. I'll have to think about it." Lecavalier hasn't played since Nov. 29, when he logged just 5:56 of ice time in a 5-2 setback to the New York Rangers.
1. Luongo resides one victory shy of matching Mike Vernon (385) for 12th place on the all-time list.
2. Philadelphia has scored a power-play goal in eight consecutive games (8-for-23) and 14 of its last 17 (17-for-60).
3. The Panthers assigned D Shane O'Brien to San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. He was a healthy scratch for all three games after being recalled last Thursday.
PREDICTION: Flyers 3, Panthers 2
Stats and Records