Will familiarity breed content in Florida Thursday night? We’ll find out when the Flyers and Panthers face off for the second time this week, this time at the BB&T Center. This marks the third meeting this season between the two Eastern Conference squads, with the Flyers taking Monday’s matchup in Philadelphia, 4-1, and the Panthers cruising to a 5-2 victory on their home ice back in November. The Panthers come into this game listed at -135.
Both teams were on opposite ends of 5-3 results in their last skate, Tuesday night. Florida took out the Devils in New Jersey, while Philly fell to the Islanders in Brooklyn. With under 30 games to play in the season, the two teams are separated by just three points in the East, with the Flyers holding onto the final Wild Card spot and the Panthers on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in.
Flyers Looking to Rebound
In the Flyers’ loss to the Islanders Tuesday night, New York scored two goals in the final 40 seconds to secure the victory, closing as a -125 favorite, and covering the -1.5 puck line at +225. The over (6) wasn’t secured until Sean Couturier notched his 16th goal of the year to tie the game at 3 with just 1:32 left in regulation. Ryan Pulock provided the game-winner 51 seconds later, and Leo Komarov put it on ice with an empty-netter with just 4 seconds left. It was just the Flyers’ fourth loss in their last 12 games (8-3-1), but they did fall three points behind the Islanders in the process.
All of the scoring in the Panthers’ (-130) win over the Devils on Tuesday came during the first two periods with Florida covering the -1.5 puck line and the game going over the 6.5 posted total. The win snapped a 3-game skid for the Panthers as each member of the team’s 4th line scored a goal and accounted for eight points in all.
Florida Solid at Home
The Panthers will enter Thursday’s matchup with a record of 16-10-2 at home, but just 12-16 ATS. Away from Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers are 12-14-3 SU and 14-15 ATS. The orange and black are one of the NHL’s best teams at home, compiling a record of 19-5-4 SU and 19-9 ATS, though that won’t help them in this affair.
In the teams’ previous meeting on Monday, Philly had Carter Hart back between the pipes after missing nine games with an abdominal strain. It was his first game back since January 13, and while he sat out in favor of Brian Elliott on Tuesday, Hart is expected back in net to face Florida again Thursday. Both Hart, and Panthers’ goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (who began his career with the Flyers), made 30 saves on Monday. For Bob, it was his 500th career NHL game.
Bobrovsky and company got the better of the Fly Guys in Florida back in November, but the Panthers were riding a hot streak at that point, something they’ve had difficulty regaining lately, despite the win Tuesday night. Hart is back for the Flyers and that should make the difference on Thursday. Flyers win, 4-2. Take the Flyers +115 over the Panthers.