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Flyers eye third straight win as they host Panthers
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers didn't put forth their highest- scoring effort last time out, but it may have been their best of the season.
The Flyers try to win three games in a row for the first time in 2013 against the club they did have their best offensive showing against as they host the Florida Panthers.
Philadelphia snapped a three-game slide by winning the opener of a four-game homestand 5-3 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. The club returned to action on Tuesday against Tampa Bay and dealt the Lightning their third loss in nine games this season with a 2-1 decision.
Grinder Tom Sestito came into the game with two career goals, but scored both markers versus the Lightning. They marked his first goals since Dec. 23, 2010 while with the Columbus Blue Jackets and both game on nearly-identical backhanded shots.
Sestito's second of the game came less than two minutes after the Lightning had tied the game in the third period.
"I've got only one move, and I was hoping nobody else noticed that. I have to hand it to my teammates, who gave me great passes. It was like I had two breakaways," Sestito deadpanned after the game.
Ilya Bryzgalov was solid all game against the league's highest-scoring team, making several big stops and 21 saves in all.
Philadelphia is on just its second winning streak of the season, with the other instance coming thanks to a 7-1 win at Florida on Jan. 26, two days after a home win over the New York Rangers. Matt Read notched his first career hat trick in the win over the Panthers and Tye McGinn added his first NHL goal to support 30 saves by Bryzgalov.
Jose Theodore started in net for the Panthers, but was pulled after allowing three goals on nine first-period shots. Scott Clemmensen didn't fare any better over the final 40 minutes as he was beaten four times on 17 shots.
It marked Philadelphia's seventh win in its last nine versus Florida.
Peter Mueller scored the Panthers' lone goal, the start of a four-game goal- scoring streak that ended in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime defeat in Winnipeg.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann scored the goals, but the Jets got the game-winner with 15.2 seconds left in overtime and Florida's Filip Kuba in the penalty box for tripping.
"We felt we could have gotten the two points," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "I thought we played a fairly solid road game. I think we did a lot of good things."
Clemmensen made 18 saves for Florida, which had won its second straight by taking the opener of a four-game swing in Buffalo on Sunday. The Panthers fell in defeat for the sixth time in eight games.
They are 1-3-1 on the road this season and wrap their swing on Saturday in Washington.
Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds has missed the past two games with a concussion suffered after taking an elbow to the head against the Capitals last Friday. He returned to practice on Wednesday wearing a non-contact jersey and is day- to-day.
02/07 10:39:45 ET