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Flyers aim to clinch playoff berth in Florida

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers attempt to put an ill-timed slump behind them on Tuesday night as they shoot for a second straight victory -- and a playoff spot -- in a matchup with the Florida Panthers.

The Flyers will play their next three on the road before ending the regular season at home versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. They head to Florida having topped the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Sunday.

Philadelphia had lost four straight and was 1-4-2 in its previous seven games before besting Buffalo. The win moved the Flyers back in front of the Columbus Blue Jackets by two points for third place in the Metropolitan Division and also has them a pair of points behind the second-place New York Rangers.

Both the Flyers and Blue Jackets have four games left in the regular season, while the Rangers have three. All three clubs are in action tonight; New York hosts Carolina, while Columbus welcomes the Phoenix Coyotes to town.

Philadelphia can officially clinch at least a wild card berth with a victory as they are five points ahead of the ninth-place New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, who both have just three games remaining.

Brayden Schenn had a pair of goals in Sunday's win, while Steve Mason made 17 saves. Matt Read and Vincent Lecavalier registered a goal and an assist each, and Mark Streit had three helpers.

"I thought we played a solid team game tonight, defense-first mentality and didn't give them a whole lot and the two points were key," Schenn said.

Zac Rinaldo also scored in Sunday's win, but received a match penalty for an illegal check 4:29 into the third period. He delivered an elbow to the head of Buffalo defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, who suffered a concussion from the hit.

"I shouldn't have done it. There was no need for it," Rinaldo said of the hit following Sunday's win. "We were up 4-0. There was no need for that hit but it is what it is. It's a part of the game."

The NHL agreed with Rinaldo and suspended the winger four games for the check, sidelining him for the rest of the regular season.

The Panthers will try to deal a blow to another playoff hopeful tonight after handing the Dallas Stars a tough 3-2 setback on Sunday. Sean Bergenheim helped Florida snap a five-game slide as he scored to snap a 2-2 tie with 4:31 left in regulation.

Bergenheim converted a well-placed tip-in of Colby Robak's attempt to send Florida in front.

"I just tried to put my stick down on the ice and he (Robak) found it. It was a really nice play by him," Bergenheim said.

The Panthers potted three unanswered goals after Dallas' Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin each scored in the game's first 21 minutes to deal the Stars a potentially damaging defeat, with Scottie Upshall and Brandon Pirri also lighting the lamp for a Florida team that had lost eight of nine coming in.

Roberto Luongo did his part as well for Florida, turning aside 35 shots.

The Panthers have now split the first two of their season-ending five-game homestand.

The Panthers have won four of their last six versus the Flyers and they snapped a five-game series home losing streak with a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia on Nov. 25.

Mason is 5-1-0 with a 1.48 goals against average and one shutout in his career versus the Panthers, while Luongo has gone 5-7-2 with a 3.21 GAA and one shutout lifetime when facing the Flyers.

04/08 11:03:43 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 24
DET 7
Final
TOR 5
TAM 6
Final
DET 6
CLE 4
Final
NYM 0
WAS 3
Final
PIT 7
CHC 3
Final
PHI 4
MIA 5
Final
KAN 4
BOS 8
Final
MIL 9
CIN 2
Final
CWS 4
MIN 6
Final
STL 4
COL 1
Final
TEX 10
ATL 3
Final
ANA 1
HOU 6
Final
SFG 2
LOS 4
Final
SEA 0
OAK 4
Final
ARI 8
SDP 6
Final
BAL 3
NYY 2
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
CIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
LOS
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
PHI
 
Final
NYG 14
ARI 25
Final
CIN 24
ATL 10
Final
TEN 10
DAL 26
Final
CAR 24
DET 7
Final
WAS 41
JAC 10
Final
BUF 29
MIA 10
Final
MIN 7
NEP 30
Final
CLE 26
NOS 24
Final
SDC 30
SEA 21
Final
TAM 17
STL 19
Final
OAK 14
HOU 30
Final
DEN 24
KAN 17
Final
GBP 31
NYJ 24
Final
SFX 20
CHI 28
8:30pm Tonight
IND
PHI