The Flyers may be taking on the undefeated Florida Panthers slightly shorthanded tonight.
Forward Cam Atkinson and defenseman Ryan Ellis both took maintenance days yesterday, with Atkinson participating in morning skate today. The word on Atkinson is that he will most likely be in the lineup.
Thankfully, that crash into the boards after he scored against Boston was not too severe.
Ellis on the other hand, did not participate earlier today and the odds of him playing this evening seem slim. Alain Vigneault’s assessment of the situation from yesterday looks to be spot on, so not much surprise here.
Not having Ellis on the top d-pairing tonight will not be easy to compensate for against this kind of opposition. The Panthers have steamrolled three strong teams, with at least two of those squads considered Stanley Cup contenders.
In their second game of the season, they defeated the New York Islanders 5-1. Florida then preceded to beat both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche by a score of 4-1. This team has not scored less than four goals in a game.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky’s play has been improving gradually since arriving in Florida, and with the strong roster around him, he is settled in early in this season. Bob is posting a .944 SV% with a GAA of 1.99, it has not been easy to score against this group.
That is not to say the Flyers can not win tonight. The Flyers’ offense has also been firing on all cylinders, not scoring less than five goals in a game up to this point. It will help to have Atkinson in a game that has a good chance to be high scoring.
With the over on this contest currently at 6.5 goals at -110, I would have to say that is not a bad bet.
Carter Hart will be back between the pipes for this matchup, and Nick Seeler will insert back into the third d-pairing with Keith Yandle. The Flyers will have to find a way to contain the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Johnathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett etc. without Ellis.
You may be surprised at the mention of Sam Bennett as a player to look out for, but there is good reason to. Bennett has 10 goals and nine assists in 14 regular season games since joining Florida last year. He has fit right in with that group.
Puck drops at 7:00 PM, the Flyers have a chance to end this homestand 3-0-1.