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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Feb 5, 2024 7:39 pm

Flyers might find added help for matchup with streaking Panthers

owen tippett

Owen Tippett started his pro career as the Florida Panthers’ first-round pick in 2017.

Tippett was essentially a flop in Florida, never scoring more than seven goals in parts of three seasons with the Panthers.

However, Tippett has become a star with the Philadelphia Flyers, producing career highs last season in goals (27) and assists (22), and late last month signed an eight-year, $49.6 contract extension.

On Tuesday night, Tippett – who has missed four straight games due to a lower-body injury – is hoping to return to the lineup as the Flyers visit his old franchise, the Panthers, in Sunrise.

“We miss him terribly,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said of Tippett. “He can push offense himself without any help. He’s an important guy for us.”

The Flyers have lost five straight games, and they haven’t won since Jan. 18.

Losing Tippett to injury has been a factor. In addition, starting goalie Carter Hart has missed four straight games due to personal reasons.

Hart, Philadelphia’s second-round pick in 2016, is 12-9-3 with a 2.80 goals-against average.

With Hart out indefinitely, Samuel Ersson, 24, has taken over as the Flyers’ primary goalie. Philadelphia’s fifth-round pick in 2018, Ersson has been solid, posting an identical record as Hart with a slightly lower GAA (2.60).

The Flyers, who have missed the playoffs for the past three years, are in postseason position, even with their slump.

Perhaps the best news for the Flyers this season has been the return of forwards Sean Couturier (back operation) and Cam Atkinson (neck surgery).Both missed all of last season.

Atkinson has 13 goals and 15 assists. Couturier has 10 goals and 21 assists.

The Flyers are tied for sixth place in the NHL in road wins (14-7-4), but the Panthers have been equally good at getting home wins (14-7-2).

Florida rolled into the All-Star break on a four-game win streak, including two that were sealed after the end of regulation.

But Panthers coach Paul Maurice said he doesn’t mind that the All-Star break interrupted their streak.
Going back further, the Panthers are 13-2-2 over their past 17 games.

“I don’t think we were lucky,” Maurice said. “There wasn’t any mojo to our run. It was just working hard, and now we’ve got to build off of that.”

It will help if All-Star center Sam Reinhart keeps up his amazing pace. He has already scored a career-high 37 goals, and he ranks only behind Toronto’s Auston Matthews (40) in that category.

Reinhart also leads the Panthers in points (62), and Aleksander Barkov (37) and Matthew Tkachuk (35) are 1-2 in assists.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who joined Reinhart at the All-Star Game, leads the Eastern Conference in wins (23-10-2). But his 2.51 GAA isn’t even the best on his team. Backup goalie Anthony Stolarz has been outstanding (8-4-2, 2.11 GAA).

The Panthers are also getting good injury news as third-line forward Nick Cousins, in concussion protocol since Jan. 2, is practicing with full contact. His return is imminent, and the Panthers believe they are ready to rise.

“We’re refreshed and rejuvenated,” Tkachuk said of the Panthers’ post-All-Star-break feeling. “We’re ready for a lot more games.”

– Field Level Media

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