LIGHTNING (9-7-2) at FLYERS (12-5-2)
TV -- 7:00 PM ET NHL NETWORK-U.S. (HD), SUN (HD), CSN-PH (HD)
Last 10 -- Tampa Bay 4-5-1; Philadelphia 8-1-1
Season series -- This is the second of four meetings this season between the clubs. The Lightning won 3-2 at the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 14. They won't play again until Feb. 1 in Tampa.
Big story -- The Flyers took a day off Wednesday after falling 3-0 on Tuesday in Montreal. November has been supremely kind to the defending Eastern Conference champions, but for the first time since Oct. 25 they'll have to rebound from a regular-season loss. It's possible that we may see Brian Boucher in the nets for Philly on Thursday considering rookie sensation Sergei Bobrovsky has started 11 straight games. Boucher hasn't played since that 2-1 loss to Columbus on Oct. 25. We'll know more after Thursday's morning skate at Wells Fargo Center.
Lightning -- November hasn't exactly been kind to the Lightning, but they picked up a much-needed win on Long Island on Wednesday night. Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Brett Clark and Nate Thompson scored in a 4-2 win. Dan Ellis made 34 saves for his fifth win of the season. The Lightning are in survival mode this month with all of their road games. They've already played six games away from the St. Pete Times Forum and have four more to go. After playing in Philly, they head to Buffalo for a game on Saturday. Simon Gagne (neck) could join his teammates on Saturday. He hasn't played since Oct. 21.
"It's getting there," Gagne told the Tampa Tribune. "The game shape isn't there, but overall I think I'm getting better every day. I'm getting treatment for my neck and I've seen a lot of improvement. I'm getting better every day and I'm doing extra work every day, too."
Flyers -- Before that 3-0 loss in Montreal on Tuesday, the second half of a back-to-back, the Flyers were the hottest team in the NHL. You can still call them that considering they're 9-1-1 over their last 11 games. The biggest news to come out of the Flyers on Wednesday was Mike Richards' pointed comments at Montreal rookie defenseman P.K. Subban. Richards took offense to Subban's perceived mouthing off during the Habs' win. While that controversy will take center stage when the Canadiens and Flyers meet up Monday, it'll have nothing to do with Thursday's game. The Flyers will simply be trying to get back on track after a tough loss.
"We're here to win hockey games and we didn't do that (Tuesday)," coach Peter Laviolette said. "But the one thing you always want to look for is work ethic and effort. It was there again (Tuesday)."
Who's hot -- St. Louis had 3 points in Wednesday's win over the Islanders and now has points in six straight games (3-6-9). Stamkos had 2 points in the win and is also on a six-game point streak (6-4-10). He leads the NHL with 16 goals and 30 points.
Injury report -- Vinny Lecavalier (hand surgery) and ex-Flyer Gagne (neck) are out for the Lightning. … The Flyers' injuries are limited to the long-term variety, such as Michael Leighton (back), Matt Walker (hip) and Ian Laperriere (post-concussion symptoms).
Stat pack -- The Lightning are halfway through their fifth set back-to-backs this season. They went 2-0 in the first two, including that win they picked up in Philadelphia more than a month ago, but have split the last two. … The Flyers have had at least 41 shots in each of their last three games (129 in total). They are 3-2 in games where they have at least 40 shots.
Puck drop -- "I think everybody is frustrated and disappointed with the loss (Tuesday) night," Laviolette said. "But we have this game coming up against Tampa Bay and we didn't have the success we were looking for against them last time. I haven't seen any of the players to deliver any messages, but I think we should focus more on Tampa Bay, seeing as they took points out of our building."
|M. St. Louis||19||8||18||26||+2||8||1||2|
|J. van Riemsdyk||16||0||5||5||+3||8||0||0|