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Flyers-Panthers Preview: ‘We’re a Bunch of Dogs,’ Says Noah Cates About Team’s Fight

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Noah Cates, Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers rookie Noah Cates and his teammates are off to a stunning 3-0 start entering Wednesday's game in Florida.

The Philadelphia Flyers will try to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 1995 when they play in Florida on Wednesday.

For the Flyers, comebacks have been the theme.

They overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat New Jersey in the opener, 5-2. Philly then erased 2-0 deficits to Vancouver and Tampa Bay and won those games by identical 3-2 scores.

“We’re a hungry team right now,” said rookie center Noah Cates, who scored the game-winner in Tampa after stealing the puck on a ferocious forecheck late in the third period. “We’re a bunch of dogs. People are counting us out, but we keep fighting and play for 60 minutes. We’re just sticking with it and having fun right now.”

Those “dogs” will be playing on back-to-back nights for the first time this season. They have 15 back-to-backs on their schedule, including Saturday and Sunday.

PHN: Flyers’ 3-0 Start is Downright Stunning

Florida (2-1) is rested, having last played Monday, dropping  a 5-3 decision in Boston to end a season-opening three-game road trip. The Cats also defeated the Islanders, 3-1, and Buffalo, 4-3, during the trip.

This will be the home opener for Florida, which will be without injured defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour.

The Flyers are missing a slew of injured players.

Projected lineups

Flyers coach John Tortorella made several in-game lineup changes in Tuesday’s win over Tampa. He is expected to start with the groups that finished.

Line 1: Kevin Hayes centering Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny.

Line 2: Morgan Frost centering Scott Laughton and Wade Allison.

Line 3: Noah Cates centering James van Riemsdyk and Zack MacEwen.

Line 4: Jackson Cates centering Nick Deslauriers and Tanner Laczynski.

Defense 1: Ivan Provorov and Tony DeAngelo.

Defense 2: Travis Sanheim and Justin Braun.

Defense 3: Nick Seeler and Egor Zamula.

Goalie: Felix Sandstrom.

Florida:

Line 1: Aleksander Barkov centering Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Reinhart.

Line 2: Sam Bennett centering Matthew Tkachuk and Rudolfs Balcers.

Line 3: Anton Lundell centering Eetu Luostarinen and Colin White.

Line 4: Nick Cousins centering Ryan Lomberg and Patric Hornqvist.

Defense 1: Marc Staal and Gustav Forsling.

Defense 2: Josh Mahura and Radko Gudas.

Defense 3: Lucas Carlsson and Matt Kersted.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovksy.

Goalie matchup

Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky (2.61 GAA, .924 SP) will face Felix Sandstrom, who will make his first start of the season. Sandstrom is 0-4-1 in his young career.

Bob is 18-5-1 with two shutouts, a 2.25 GAA, and .925 save percentage against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Game notes

  • Hayes has 199 career assists.
  • Barkov leads the Panthers with 18 points (6-12) in 21 career games against Philly.
  • Van Riemsdyk has 23 points (11-12) in 35 career games against the Panthers.
  • The Flyers were 3-9-4 in the second game of back-to-backs last season; they were 7-8-1 in the first game.
  • DeAngelo has a point in all four games.
  • Reinhart has 12 goals in 25 games against the Flyers.
  • Tkachuk, a first-year Panther, and White lead Florida with four points apiece.
  • Konecny, Hayes and JVR pace the Flyers with four points each, and Provorov is plus-5.
  • Bobrovsky, 34, has made $91 million (and counting) in his career, per Puckpedia.

How to watch

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. on TBS. That makes three of the first four games on networks other than NBCSP. The next 11 games will be on NBCSP or NBCSP+.

How to bet

Money line (Fan Duel): Florida is minus-375, the Flyers, who still aren’t getting respect from the oddsmakers, are plus-285.

Pick: Florida, 4-3.

Prediction record: 1-2.

5 Observations: Flyers Jolt Tampa; Carter Hart, Noah Cates Shine

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