SUNRISE, Fla. — Carter Hart will face Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky on Thursday night in a rematch of Monday’s matchup, won by the Flyers, 4-1.
“I think he’s looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity that tonight’s game is going to bring,” coach Alain Vigneault said after Thursday’s morning skate at the BB&T Center. “This is a highly skilled team; they have a real good transition team, so we’re going to have to be at our best when it’s time to check. Obviously, our puck management tonight is huge.”
Hart is 16-11-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Bobrovsky, a one-time Flyer, is 20-16-5 with a 3.27 GAA average and .898 save percentage.
The Flyers will use the same lineup (except their goaltender) that dropped a 5-3 decision to the Islanders on Tuesday. In that game, Sean Couturier capped a three-goal comeback to tie the score with 92 seconds left, but Ryan Pulock answered for the Isles with 41 seconds remaining. The Islanders added an empty-net goal.
“It’s one game; it’s behind us,” Couturier said. “The focus is on tonight’s game. We can’t go back in time. We control what we can control for now on. Tonight, we can either let them be right on us in the standings, or take a few points’ lead on them — that’s the opportunity we’re looking at."
The Flyers have 69 points and hold the Eastern Conference’s second wild card. Florida is three points behind the Flyers but has a game in hand. Carolina trails the Flyers by two points and has a game in hand.
Jake Voracek said containing Florida’s top line — Aleksander Barkov centering Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgeni Dadonov — looms as Thursday night’s key. The three have combined for 58 goals and 164 points.
“It’s a tough line to stop. You have to be on your toes every single moment when you’re on the ice against them,” Voracek said. “If you don’t pay attention for a little bit, they’re going to make you pay.”
Like Couturier, Voracek said the Flyers have put the loss to the Isles behind them.
“Every day is a new day. Every game is a new game,” Voracek said. “You can’t get too stuck on games you’ve played in the past, win or lose, because it’s not going to help you.”
The Flyers’ projected lineup Thursday:
· Couturier centering Claude Giroux and Voracek
· Kevin Hayes centering Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny
· Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Pitlick.
· Connor Bunnaman centering Michael Raffl and Nic Aube-Kubel.
· Defense: Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen; Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers; Robert Hagg and Justin Braun.
· Goalie: Hart.