Continuing Strong Play

Mike Knuble feels the Philadelphia Flyers are a very deep team. Their recent play supports his belief.

The Flyers look to continue their strong play Wednesday night when they host the slumping Florida Panthers in the third meeting this season between the teams.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Philadelphia -170 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadelphia –170 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

After their momentum was slowed with an overtime loss to Boston on Saturday, the Flyers rebounded with a 6-4 victory at Washington on Sunday.

Knuble had his first two-goal game of the season and Kimmo Timonen added a goal and two assists as Philadelphia (23-15-5) improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine games.

The Flyers have continued to play well despite the recent loss of right wing Joffrey Lupul, who is third on the team with 35 points in 39 games. Lupul suffered a bruised spinal cord and a mild concussion when he collided with teammate Derian Hatcher against Toronto on Jan. 5.

"The fact is we're probably a much deeper team than people give us credit for," Knuble told the Flyers' official Web site. "It's really starting to show itself in the numbers. You win a lot more games when you get the balance like that."

Stepping up in Lupul's absence have been forwards Scott Hartnell and Steve Downie. Hartnell has five goals and three assists during a four-game point streak while Downie has two goals and three assists in his past five contests.

"It's great to see the guys on such a roll right now especially some of the young guys chipping in like Downie," Lupul said. "It's been great to watch, and I am really happy for those guys."

Philadelphia is among the league leaders with six players in double digits in goals.

Up front isn't the only area where the Flyers have depth. Goaltenders Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki have both proven capable of carrying the team for long stretches.

Niittymaki went 3-0-1 with a 2.24 goals-against average during four straight starts earlier this month before Biron returned Saturday. Biron has 16 of the team's 23 wins this season.

Center Jeff Carter has four goals and three assists during a five-game point streak. He already has 17 goals in 43 games this season after managing only 14 in 62 contests in 2006-07.

Florida lost its sixth straight home game, 4-3 in a shootout to Colorado on Sunday.

Captain Olli Jokinen, David Booth, and Jay Bouwmeester had goals for the Panthers (20-22-4), who rallied from three one-goal deficits to salvage a point.

"We showed a lot of character coming back three times," coach Jacques Martin said. "We missed our three (in the shootout) and they got one in. I guess today it was not our turn."

While Philadelphia has six players in double figures in goals, Florida has only three - Jokinen (21), Nathan Horton (12) and Booth (12).

Two of the Panthers' three goals Sunday came on the power play, a rarity lately for a team that entered the game with three goals in its previous 49 chances with the man advantage.

These teams have split two meetings this season - both in Florida. The Panthers had won five straight in the series before Niittymaki made 38 saves in a 1-0 victory on Dec. 30.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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