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Flyers head south to face Panthers

11:15 AM, Jan 26, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers earned their first win of the season on Thursday, but that didn't stop the club from getting bad news.

Nonetheless, the short-handed Flyers will try to make it two wins a row when they visit the Florida Panthers for Saturday's game at the BB&T Center.

Prior to Thursday's 2-1 home win over the New York Rangers, the Flyers learned that forward Scott Hartnell will miss 4-to-8 weeks with a broken toe. During the game, defenseman Andrej Meszaros went down with a shoulder and he's expected to miss a month.

Hoping to offset the loss of Hartnell, who led the team with a career-high 37 goals in 2011-12, Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren signed Mike Knuble to a one-year deal on Thursday. Knuble is a former Flyer with 274 career goals to his name, but at 40 years old it's difficult to say what level of production he can offer at this stage.

The Flyers are also hoping for the return of forward Danny Briere, who has yet to play this season due to a broken wrist. Holmgren said it's "50-50" whether Briere will return this weekend, when Philly plays the Panthers before visiting Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Jakub Voracek netted the deciding goal in the second period of Thursday's win over the Rangers and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 18-of-19 shots to help Philadelphia hold on for its first win after an 0-3-0 start.

Wayne Simmonds provided the other score for the Flyers, who have never lost four games in regulation to begin any season.

"I like the way the team played tonight and I think we deserved the win tonight," Bryzgalov said. "Guys played unbelievable tonight and the team looked sharp in the crease tonight. There was great sacrifice made with guy blocking the shots, and nobody cheats. I can't say enough words it was just a great game."

Philadelphia forward Brayden Schenn sat out Thursday's test while serving a one-game suspension for a hit on New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov.

The Flyers are 0-2-0 on the road this year after posting a strong 25-13-3 mark away from home in 2011-12.

Like the Flyers, Florida is also 1-3-0 on the season, but they arrived at that record by winning their season opener before losing three in a row. The most recent setback came Thursday against the visiting Ottawa Senators. Erik Karlsson scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period to help the Sens record the 3-1 decision.

Tomas Fleischmann scored the lone Florida goal, while Jose Theodore surrendered two goals on 36 shots for the Panthers, who have lost three straight, including a 4-0 setback at Ottawa on Jan. 21.

"We really have to bear down and give our goalie some support," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said. "They're creating a lot of chances against us.

The Panthers played Thursday's game without centerman Stephen Weiss, who is sidelined with a lower body injury. He is doubtful for Saturday's game.

Forward Kris Versteeg (groin) is questionable for Saturday and Fleischmann is expected to play despite needing stitches to repair a foot laceration after Thursday's game.

Florida ended a five-game series' losing streak against the Flyers with a 2-1 regulation win in Philadelphia on March 20 of last season. The Panthers have lost their last four home games versus the Flyers.

The Sports Network

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