LIGHTNING (12-14-2) at FLYERS (17-7-3)
TV: NHLN-US, SUN, CSN-Philadelphia
Last 10: Tampa Bay 3-7-0; Philadelphia 7-3-0
Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams this season. On Nov. 9, Brett Connolly scored at 2:30 of overtime to give the Lightning a 2-1 victory in Tampa.
Big Story: The last time these teams met, the Flyers tried their controversial approach to breaking Tampa's 1-3-1 defense alignment. Will they go back to their sit-and-wait approach? Or has Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette come up with a different plan?
Lightning: Dominic Moore rode a pretty tough roller coaster Thursday.
At the team's morning skate, his backhand shot missed the net and hit Martin St. Louis in the face, leaving the team's star forward with facial and nasal fractures and an overnight stay in a New York hospital. In the game that night against the Rangers, his goal with 1:57 left in regulation -- on a backhander, no less -- tied a game the Lightning won on his shootout goal to snap a five-game losing streak.
"I think the things I'm thinking about are how we stuck together as a team and responded the way we did," Moore told reporters after the game. "As a man in our room, everyone's thinking of Marty and we're trying to get the win for Marty. He's our leader every second of every day. That was our thoughts."
Teammates felt for Moore, and were happy not only for the victory, but that Moore could leave town with somewhat of a good feeling.
"He was feeling a little guilty about what happened this morning," forward Steven Stamkos said. "It was a tough one for him, but it shows you how mentally tough he is to come back in the game. We said we wanted to win this one for Marty. It's kind of ironic that he scored on a backhander after this morning. It's not funny, but it kind of is. I'm sure Marty would be happy that we won for him."
Flyers: One of the biggest reasons Philadelphia leads the Eastern Conference is the depth of its offense. They have goals from 12 forwards, including three (Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Matt Read) who have scored in double digits. Philadelphia leads the League with an average of 3.56 goals per game.
While the top line of Giroux, Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr has drawn most of the headlines, the second line of Danny Briere, Wayne Simmonds and Read scored two of the team's three goals in Thursday's win 3-2 against the Penguins.
"I like all of our lines," coach Peter Laviolette said after Thursday's game. "It was (Wednesday in Buffalo) that when we threw the Couturier line out on the ice that they just pinned (the Sabres) in on the forecheck and threw pucks at the net. They are hard to play against. Max's line (Maxime Talbot, James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek) did a nice job. … There is a good balance right now for secondary scoring coming from behind Giroux. Certainly Briere's line is capable of that with Wayne … but I think there is some balance there, as well."
Who's Hot: Stamkos had his eight-game point-scoring streak snapped Thursday, but still has five goals and six assists in his last nine games. … Hartnell's goal Thursday gave him at least one in a career-best four straight games.
Injury Report: St. Louis, the Lightning's second-leading scorer, is out indefinitely after suffering facial and nasal fractures in practice Thursday. Doctors won't be able to put a timeline on his return until the swelling in his face goes down. Defenseman Pavel Kubina (lower body) and forward Nate Thompson (upper body) are questionable for Saturday's game. … Flyers captain Chris Pronger, already out for at least another three weeks recovering from knee surgery, now will be out indefinitely due to concussion-type symptoms. Rookie forward Brayden Schenn also is out with a mild concussion.
Stat Pack: The Lightning would miss St. Louis in any circumstance, but they'll really notice his absence against Philadelphia. St. Louis has 48 points in 38 regular-season games against the Flyers, the most he's scored against any non-Southeast Division team.
Puck Drop: Pronger described last season as "the season from hell," so you have to wonder how he'll describe this one. He was hit in the eye by a stick during a game Oct. 24 and missed two weeks, and five games into his return went out with a mystery virus. When he was primed to return from that, he needed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove loose bodies. That was supposed to sideline him for a month, but now that timetable has been changed to an indefinite absence due to concussion-like symptoms.
Pronger will visit with Dr. Joseph Maroon and Dr. Micky Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Collins is the doctor treating Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in his return from a concussion.
"I think over the last few days he's had some difficulties," GM Paul Holmgren said. "A fairly persistent headache, just sluggish feeling, so we're just trying to do the right thing here and get him checked out by the doctors in Pittsburgh and just see what we're dealing with. Is it a concussion? I don't know that we know that. We want to get a better idea, obviously."
|M. St. Louis||27||9||13||22||+2||6||1||0|
|J. van Riemsdyk||23||8||8||16||-2||14||1||0|