Kris Versteeg wasn’t a perfect fit after the Philadelphia Flyers
traded for him during last season’s stretch run.
The Florida Panthers, though, couldn’t be happier with how the
left wing has meshed with his new teammates after acquiring him
from the Flyers.
Coming off his first career hat trick, Versteeg looks to help
the Panthers post their first seven-game point streak in two years
Sunday when they host Philadelphia.
Acquired from Toronto on Feb. 14 for two draft picks, Versteeg
had seven goals and 11 points in 27 regular-season games for the
Flyers, who went just 11-9-7 after the deal and barely hung on for
their first Atlantic Division title in five seasons. He was limited
to one goal in 11 playoff games as Philadelphia was ousted in the
While more attention was paid to their offseason moves of
dealing Jeff Carter and captain Mike Richards and signing
goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, a Flyers trade that went under the radar
has helped Florida (8-4-3) post its best start since opening 10-1
with four ties 15 years ago.
The Panthers, 3-0-3 in their last six, picked up Versteeg on
July 1 for two draft picks. The forward has team bests with eight
goals and 17 points after scoring three times and recording a
career high-tying four points in Thursday’s 5-2 road win over
“It hasn’t just been one game,” first-year coach Kevin Dineen
said. “He’s been really consistent and a good player for us all
So has Versteeg’s former teammate in Chicago, defenseman Brian
Acquired in June for Rostislav Olesz, Campbell has 10 of his
team-best 14 assists on the power play, which is now among the
league’s best at 24.1 percent after ranking last (13.1 percent) a
The Panthers, whose last seven-game point streak was a 5-0-3 run
Nov. 12-25, 2009, will face a Flyers team that’s killed 19 of 20
penalties during its 3-0-2 stretch.
The one power-play goal Philadelphia (8-4-3) allowed in that
span, however, came in its most recent contest and was costly. It
let Tampa Bay tie Wednesday’s game in the third period, and the
Flyers went on to lose 2-1 in overtime.
Among the league’s best with 3.80 goals per game, Philadelphia
managed a season-low 15 shots as the Lightning employed a 1-3-1
defense that essentially brought the game to a standstill.
“That’s not hockey in my book, but whatever,” Flyers captain
Chris Pronger said after returning from a six-game absence due to
an eye injury.
The Flyers could get plenty more opportunities in this matchup
as the Panthers surrender 33.0 shots per game, among the most in
Florida, though, has been getting a solid effort in net from
Jose Theodore, 3-0-2 with a 2.13 goals-against average in his last
Theodore is 7-0-1 with a 1.97 GAA in his last eight starts
Bryzgalov also has been playing well, allowing seven goals in
his past four games while going 3-0-1. He could make his first
start versus the Panthers in a Flyers uniform after going 2-0-1
with a 1.58 GAA against them while with Phoenix.
This is the teams’ first meeting of the season after
Philadelphia won three of four in 2010-11, including both matchups
in Sunrise, Fla. The Flyers are 4-1-1 on the road, facing a
Panthers club which has lost its last three home games in