The Philadelphia Flyers can clinch a playoff birth tonight as they travel south to take on the Florida Panthers. The game will begin at 7:30pm and it will be televised on CSN Philadelphia and the NHL Network.
The Flyers are coming off of a big win against the Buffalo Sabres. After a bruising stretch of games that included the Penguins (x2), Blues (x2), Bruins (x2), Rangers, and Blackhawks, consecutive games against the Sabres and Panthers is a welcome break. However, the Flyers cannot afford to take this Panthers team lightly.
In the previous meeting between these two teams the Flyers came out flat and lost by a score of 3-1. The Flyers will need production from their top six forwards and a solid game from the defense.
Steve Mason is the expected starter in goal. Mason is 2-2-1 in his last five starts but has not allowed more than three goals since March 8. On the season Mason is 32-18-7 with a SV% of .916 and a GAA of 2.52.
Steve Downie will return to the line-up as the Flyers are clear of any major injuries. However, Zac Rinaldo will serve the first game of his four game suspension. Tye McGinn will also play in place of Jay Rosehill.
The Panthers are depleted on the injury front. Young building blocks Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau will both be out of the line up tonight.
Florida is second to last in the Eastern Conference, only ahead of Buffalo. Without Barkov and Huberdeau, there is no excuse for the Flyers not to clinch a playoff birth tonight.