Flyers still focused on top of Eastern Conference
Sunday, 03.25.2012 / 10:12 PM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorLIGHTNING (34-33-7) at FLYERS (44-23-8)
TV: NBCSN (HD), TSN2
Tampa Bay 4-5-1; Philadelphia 7-2-1
This is the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the teams. The Lightning have taken the first two games in the series, most recently a 5-1 win in Tampa on Dec. 27. In their last game in Philadelphia, the Flyers won 5-2.
With their playoff spot locked up, the Flyers have to make sure there's no letdown, as there's still a chance to catch the Rangers and Penguins in the conference race.
Lightning: Vincent Lecavalier
is traveling with the team on its three-game road swing that starts Monday in Philadelphia, with the hope that he'll play at some point during the trip, which includes stops in Boston and New Jersey.
Lecavalier hasn't played since breaking his right hand during a game against the Capitals on Feb. 18. He skated with the team Sunday, but wore a no-contact jersey.
"It felt a little better," Lecavalier told the Tampa Bay Times. "But the strength in the hand is not there yet."
Even so, he continued, "when I'm ready to play, I want to play. That's why I'm joining the team (on the road trip). I don't want to set any dates, but I want to start practicing with the team and get the feel of the game. I want to play as soon as possible."
Lecavalier has 21 goals and 46 points in 58 games, and the Lightning have gone just 8-7-1 without him.
No Philadelphia player ever has won an Art Ross Trophy, but center Claude Giroux
has a chance to become the first.
He'll enter Monday's game with 86 points, 11 behind League-leader Evgeni Malkin, with seven games left. He's one point behind Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos
for second place.
"It's pretty cool to be up there and I feel lucky to be up there in the standings and top scorers, but it's not just about me -- it's about my linemates (Jaromir Jagr
and Scott Hartnell
), too," Giroux told reporters.
Giroux said the goal remains the team getting points, not him getting points, but he also knows the two can go hand-in-hand.
"It's something I really don't control and what I control is how I play and I do my best to help the team win," Giroux said. "If I'm scoring goals, I'm helping the team win. Obviously, I'm going to try to catch him (Malkin), but it's not my main focus right now."
Stamkos had 2 goals Saturday, setting a new career high with a League-best 52 goals this season. … In 13 March games, Giroux has 4 goals and 10 assists.
Lecavalier (hand) is doubtful. Goalie Mathieu Garon
(lower body) and forwards Nate Thompson
(upper body), Adam Hall
(upper body) and Ryan Shannon
(shoulder) are out. … Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros
(back surgery) is out. Defenseman Andreas Lilja
is day-to-day (upper body).
In the last 14 games, the Flyers have killed off 36 of 39 opposing power plays. Their penalty-kill has climbed to 15th in the League at 82.2 percent.
With back-to-back games Monday in Philadelphia and Tuesday in Boston, it's likely Sebastian Caron will start one of the next two games. If he gets in, it will be his first NHL game since Jan. 16, 2007, when he made a 28-minute relief appearance for the Anaheim Ducks.
If he plays in Philadelphia, it'll be another notable stop in the city during his hockey journey, which has included stints in Switzerland, Russia and Germany over the last five seasons.
A TSN video once ranked a save he made in Philadelphia against the Flyers' Brian Savage in October 2005 -- a remarkable, body-contorting glove save -- as the greatest in the history of the game.
And prior to his stint with the Lightning, Caron's last NHL stint was with the Flyers, when he spent the final week of the 2009-10 season dressed as the backup to Brian Boucher, but never got in a game.
And that relief appearance Caron made for the Ducks back in 2007? The Ducks' starting goalie that night was Ilya Bryzgalov
, the Flyers' current starter.