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Lightning vs Flyers - 2/5/13


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Hoping to win back-to-back home games and avenge an ugly loss the previous weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers (3-6-0) host the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2-0) at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will be televised nationally both in the United States and Canada. It will air on NBC Sports Network and TSN at 7:30 p.m. EST.

This is the second of three meetings between the teams this season. On Jan. 27 in Tampa Bay, the Flyers got an early fluky goal by Sean Couturier but very little went right thereafter. Tampa piled on three power play goals and roughed up Michael Leighton and the Philadelphia defense for a 5-1 win. Teddy Purcell, Eric Brewer, Vincent LeCavalier, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos all scored for the Bolts.

The Flyers enter this game coming off a wild-and-woolly 5-3 home win on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Thanks to a strong goaltending performance by Ilya Bryzgalov and 32 blocked shots (including six apiece by Nicklas Grossmann and Luke Schenn), the Flyers were able to survive a lot of sloppy defensive play and penalties. Kurtis Foster, Braydon Coburn, Danny Briere, Mike Knuble and Claude Giroux tallied for Philadelphia.

Tampa is coming off a 3-2 home loss to Rangers on Saturday. Stamkos scored a pair of goals in a losing effort while backup goaltender Mathieu Garon made 27 saves in a losing cause. Tonight's game marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Lightning.

If the Flyers are to win tonight, they must play a much more disciplined game than the one they played against Carolina. The Lightning have too many weapons to get away with a lot of turnovers, penalties and blown coverages. Their retooled blueline has also played well, and Guy Boucher has always been a coach that preaches a teamwide defense-first system (despite the club's ugly GAA last year). The Flyers had a lot of trouble trying to create operating space for themselves in the first game the teams played this season.

The Bolts' power play comes into tonight clicking at a staggering 36.1 percent for the season, which was helped along last time by poor penalty killing work by Philadelphia. The Flyers' PK has looked better the last few games, but Tampa presents a major challenge in this area. It is important that the Flyers keep penalties to a minimum.

The Tampa lineup is filled with players who have feasted on the Flyers in their careers. Most notably, Martin St. Louis has 56 points (14 goals, 42 assists) in 41 career regular season games against the Flyers while Stamkos has tallied 12 goals and 18 points in 17 games. Vincent LeCavalier has a more modest 15 goals and 42 points in 51 games.

For the Flyers to win, their best player need to step up tonight. They will need big nights from the likes of Giroux, Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Bryzgalov to lead the way. The energy line players need to help the team establish a forecheck, and everyone needs to simultaneously walk the discipline line and stay out of the penalty box.

Something else the Flyers need to be mindful of tonight: Even if they manage to get off to a strong start and play from ahead, they can't afford to let up. Tampa enters tonight enjoying the best third period goal differential of any team in the NHL.

On the injury front, the Flyers are without Wayne Simmonds (concussion), Scott Hartnell (foot) and former Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder). For Tampa, LeCavalier is playing through a bone bruise in one of his feet. He's a go for tonight despite taking a maintenance day yesterday. Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson is questionable.

PROJECTED LINEUPS (subject to change)

FLYERS

15 Tye McGinn - 28 Claude Giroux - 48 Danny Briere

24 Matt Read - 14 Sean Couturier - 9 Mike Knuble

36 Zac Rinaldo- 10 Brayden Schenn - 93 Jakub Voracek

26 Ruslan Fedotenko - 25 Max Talbot - 32 Tom Sestito

44 Kimmo Timonen - 22 Luke Schenn

5 Braydon Coburn - 27 Bruno Gervais

8 Nicklas Grossmann - 3 Kurtis Foster

30 Ilya Bryzgalov

[49 Michael Leighton]

LIGHTNING

12 Ryan Malone - 91 Steven Stamkos - 26 Martin St. Louis

89 Cory Conacher - 4 Vincent Lecavalier - 16 Teddy Purcell

67 Benoit Pouliot - 11 Tom Pyatt - 42 Dana Tyrell

44 Nate Thompson - 18 Adam Hall - 19 B.J. Crombeen

2 Eric Brewer - 25 Matt Carle

77 Victor Hedman - 6 Sami Salo

3 Keith Aulie - 29 Brendan Mikkelson/ 15 Brian Lee

39 Anders Lindbäck

[32 Mathieu Garon]

Melzer

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I wonder if these records are simply due to home/away. TB is 5-1 at home, 8 GP. Phi is 1-5 on the road, 9 GP. That home advantage is huge in not traveling, allowing the coaching staff to install systems in practice.

Phi is in their second trip to the state Florida too, and has already been to Buf as the second day of a back to back in less than 24 hrs.

Thoughts?

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I was only able to catch a little more than half of the third period (tuned in moments before sesito's second goal) but from what I was able to see it appeared as though the wingers were playing more intensely than a few of the other games this season. From what I saw they looked well put together tonight. Good win.

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Awesome game by Bryzgalov. Deserved a shutout. He wasn't super busy, but rock solid and made several key saves. That glove a gamesaver.

It was a full team win. They played hard all night and forechecked and backchecked the heck out of the Lightning. I was laughing out loud for Sestito on his second, you could really feel how happy he was. Nice to see Giroux own the faceoff circle (Briere HAS to bury that great pass) Hard to believe Giroux and Stamkos weren't on Canadas Olympic team only 2 years ago, they owned the rink last night. I thought it was hilarious Talbot sucked LeCavalier into a fight. Schenn looked better on D. Kimmo Timonen looked like an allstar.

Wasn't happy with Gervais leaving his man all alone in front, and didn't like Coburn taking two more dumb penalties (I like Coburn but he's killing us with stupid).

Won't care about hockey for the next two weeks. Off to Costa Rica. Cheers boys!

Edited by flyercanuck
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