Game 24 Preview: Philadelphia Flyers @ Tampa Bay Lightning

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Philadelphia Flyers (10-11-2) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (15-8-1), 7:30pm, NHL Network/CSN-Philly/SUN Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers will look to start another winning streak, and hopefully another lengthy point streak, tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Florida. Although the Orange and Black failed to extend both their three-game winning streak and their seven-game point streak against the Florida Panthers on Monday, they have been given a nice opportunity to bounce back against a Lightning squad that will be dealing with two key injuries.

On top of the well-known injury to Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay will be without starting goalie Ben Bishop in net tonight, as he left this morning’s skate with pain after taking a shot off his blocker hand. So instead of taking on Bishop, who is 14-3-1 with a .931 save percentage and a 2.08 GAA, the Flyers will be facing Anders Lindback, who is 1-5-0 with a .872 save percentage and a 3.47 GAA.

Along with their top goal-scoring threat and their starting goaltender being out of tonight’s game, the Lightning will head into the tilt with several other injuries. Tampa’s blue line is trying to work through injuries to Mattias Ohlund, Brian Lee, Keith Aulie, and Radko Gudas. On offense, the Bolts will be without Ryan Malone and Tom Pyatt, as well as Stamkos. Since Stamkos suffered his broken tibia on November 11th, the Lightning are 3-4-1 including the 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins where their forward left the game early.

If the Flyers want to find the win column for the seventh time in their last nine games, they’ll need a better performance than they provided on Monday. Steve Mason and company had a few bad bounces in the defeat, but they also only had one power-play goal against one of the worst penalty kills in the league despite having a 5-on-3 for 1:23 early in the second period. In addition to their inability to take advantage of the power play, Philly also allowed the Panthers to score on one of their two power plays all night.

The Lightning have seen their power-play percentage drop quite a bit to 17.2, but it probably hasn’t helped that Stamkos has been out of the lineup. However, Tampa Bay is currently third in the league with an 86.2 percent penalty kill, so the Flyers might have to come through with multiple five-on-five goals. It’s not too tall of an order, but the power play has been helping the Flyers a lot lately, as eight of their last 22 goals have come on the power play.

Something that may help the Flyers is the return of Vincent Lecavalier to Tampa Bay to take on his former team. There might be more incentive for the Flyers’ productive forward to provide even more offense against the team that drafted him first overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and with who he won a Stanley Cup with in 2004.

In net, Ray Emery will take to the crease for the Flyers and will be looking for his third straight win. Emery has looked good over his last few starts and the Flyers have looked good in front of him. Hopefully for the team both of these trends continue, as this game could be considered a trap game after the information about Bishop came out this morning. This isn’t the Tampa Bay team that worked its way to the top of the standings at the beginning of the season, and the Flyers need to take advantage of that.

As for their upcoming schedule, it would be nice for the Orange and Black to grab a pair of points tonight before they return home for their final tilt at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday before they start a six-game road trip on Saturday that will last 12 days.

RECORDS
Philadelphia Flyers
Overall: 10-11-2
Road: 4-4-2
Against the Eastern Conference: 9-8-1
Against the Atlantic Division: 4-4-0

Tampa Bay Lightning
Overall: 15-8-1
Home: 9-2-0
Against the Eastern Conference: 8-5-0
Against the Metropolitan Division: 2-2-0

PROJECTED LINEUPS
Philadelphia Flyers
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Brayden Schenn – Vincent Lecavalier – Wayne Simmonds
Steve Downie – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo – Adam Hall – Jay Rosehill

Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Nicklas Grossmann – Mark Streit
Luke Schenn – Erik Gustafsson

Ray Emery
Steve Mason

Tampa Bay Lightning
J.T. Brown – Valtteri Filppula – Martin St. Louis
Nikita Kucherov – Alex Killorn – Teddy Purcell
Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Richard Panik
Dana Tyrell – Nate Thompson – B.J. Crombeen

Matt Carle – Andrej Sustr
Sami Salo – Victor Hedman
Eric Brewer – Mark Barberio

Anders Lindback
Ben Bishop

TEAM LEADERS
Philadelphia Flyers
Goals: Vincent Lecavalier and Matt Read, 8
Assists: Claude Giroux, 13
Points: Claude Giroux, 16
Power-Play Points: Claude Giroux, 9
Plus/Minus: Steve Downie, plus-6
PIMs: Zac Rinaldo, 48
Average TOI: Braydon Coburn, 22:37
GAA: Steve Mason, 2.17
Save Percentage: Steve Mason, .931

Tampa Bay Lightning
Goals: Steven Stamkos, 14
Assists: Martin St. Louis, 14
Points: Martin St. Louis, 24
Power-Play Points: Valtteri Filppula, 8
Plus/Minus: Steven Stamkos, plus-11
PIMs: Radko Gudas, 68
Average TOI: Matt Carle, 21:58
GAA: Ben Bishop, 2.08
Save Percentage: Ben Bishop, .931

INJURIES
Philadelphia Flyers
NONE

Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos – Broken right tibia (out indefinitely)
Tom Pyatt – Collarbone (out indefinitely)
Brian Lee – Knee (out indefinitely)
Mattias Ohlund – Knee (out indefinitely)
Radko Gudas – Upper-body injury (day-to-day)
Ryan Malone – Lower-body injury (day-to-day)
Keith Aulie – Upper-body injury (day-to-day)

FORMER PLAYERS
Former Flyers in Tampa Bay’s organization
With Tampa Bay: Matt Carle, Mikael Andersson (Scout)
With the Syracuse Crunch (AHL): Joey Mormina, Rob Zettler (Head Coach)
With the Florida Everblades (ECHL): NONE
With the Brampton Beast (CHL): NONE

Former Tampa Bay players in Philadelphia’s organization
With Philadelphia: Vincent Lecavalier, Steve Downie, Adam Hall, Andrej Meszaros, Jay Rosehill (Drafted 227th overall in 2003 NHL Entry Draft), Antero Niittymaki (Scout)
With the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL): Bruno Gervais
With the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL): NONE