NEW YORK – Peter Laviolette was asked Tuesday morning about the one thing he’d like to see different from the Philadelphia Flyers’ last game, a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday afternoon.
“There’s no one thing,” Laviolette said. “There’s a whole bunch of things. I think collectively as a group, we weren’t sharp. I make no excuses for it. We didn’t play well enough. There is no one answer. I could give you different answers but instead of reciting them all, I think we’ll just work on them on the iced and try to be a better group.”
The Flyers will have a chance to bounce back after a day off Monday when they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Laviolette said he felt his team had played three good games in a row before the loss in Tampa, and that stretch included a 2-1 win against the Rangers in Philadelphia on Thursday.
The common thread in the Flyers’ four losses this season has been poor special teams and to some extent, far too many unnecessary penalties.
In their two wins, the Flyers are 3-for-10 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill; in their four losses, they are 1-for-21 on the power play and have allowed eight power-play goals in 21 shorthanded chances.
The Flyers have also been outscored 10-2 and are 0-2 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.
“It seems penalties is one of the issues,” Flyers forward Danny Briere said. “Two were bad losses we didn’t play well in and in both cases it was the second game of a back-to-back and it’s an area we’ll have to improve. Everybody has to play the back-to-back games. We’ll have to better there.”
Briere said while his wrist is healthy enough to play against the Rangers, he isn’t ready to take faceoffs just yet.
Laviolette was secretive about his lineup, but here are the lines he showed during practice:
Scratched: Kurtis Foster
Lilja would not say, but he appears to be checking into the lineup in place of Kurtis Foster. As for the fourth line, Rinaldo also didn’t confirm if he would replace Tye McGinn. It will likely be a game-time decision, as Rinaldo is coming off a leg injury.
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Boston has points in five straight to start the season, and New Jersey has done the same in its first four contests.
For two Devils, however, the Eastern Conference showdown should be a little more important than for others. Rookie Stefan Matteau will try to make one last impression on the team's brass to stay in the NHL for the duration of this season, and Matt Anderson is scheduled to make his NHL debut at 30 years old.
"We want to give him the best opportunity we can," DeBoer said about Matteau, who will either stick with the Devils or go back to juniors after this game.
Anderson was recalled from Albany (American Hockey League) on Thursday. With Albany, he totaled 20 points (7 goals) in 39 games this season.
"Having watched him on tape," DeBoer said, "especially early this year, he brings speed, he's a smart player and hopefully we can help us."
Johan Hedberg will make his first start in net of the season for the Devils.
The Bruins, who are playing the second half of a back-to-back for the first time this season, did not hold a full morning skate. Adam McQuaid, who missed Monday night's win at the Carolina Hurricanes to attend his grandmother's funeral, returned to the team and is available to play.
Here are the projected lineups:
The Panthers (1-4-0) will face the Lightning (4-1-0) on Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in the first of five games this season between the teams. The Panthers arrive staggering, having dropped their past four games in regulation. Saturday night in Sunrise, they were manhandled by the Philadelphia Flyers, 7-1.
Florida has been hit by some key injuries, but forward Kris Versteeg is set to return to the lineup and make his season debut against the Lightning.
For Tampa Bay, the picture could not be more different. The Lightning are riding a four-game win streak and have yet to lose on home ice through three contests. Their game on Sunday was perhaps their best of the season, a solid 5-1 victory over the Flyers.
In that game, eight different players hit the score sheet for Tampa Bay, and five games into the season, 12 skaters have found the back of the net. Steven Stamkos has a five-game season-long scoring streak entering Tuesday, and Martin St. Louis has eight assists, including four against the Flyers.
Despite the positives, Lightning coach Guy Boucher is taking nothing for granted against their cross-state rival.
"Their coach (Kevin Dineen) said he was really disappointed after their last game and that they would be ready for the next one," Boucher said. "They have urgency, they have lost four in a row, Versteeg's back -- they will come out charging."
For his part, Boucher doesn't plan to mess with what is working and the Lightning will send out a lineup identical to their previous game.
For the Panthers, Drew Shore, who played in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday in Providence, R.I., should be back in time to be in the lineup.
"Drew’s made some good strides early," Dineen said, "and his compete level is fairly high, so he deserves to continue to get a quality shot here."
But the big addition for Florida is Versteeg.
"Our confidence level is not huge right now," Dineen said, "but one of Versteeg's strengths is that he can go out and affect the outcome of the game."
Niskanen was injured during the first period of Sunday's game at the Ottawa Senators.
In five games, Niskanen has a goal and two assists.
It's Day 2 of the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas, and we've got you covered! We'll get things started an hour early, at 4 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, with all of our special coverage from the Bellagio. E.J. Hradek will sit down with Wayne Gretzky and get an update on the camp activities. Plus, we'll also hear from two of the greatest American born defensemen, Brian Leetch and Chris Chelios.
There are 10 games on the schedule Tuesday night. Back in New York we'll preview all the action with Bill Pidto and Butch Goring. We make stops on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Boston and Pittsburgh. We'll also get the inside scoop on the recently signed P.K. Subban and when we can expect to see him on the ice.
Don't forget to submit your #AskButch questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork and stick around for the shootout as Butch picks each game being played on Tuesday -- our analyst Ken Daneyko went 5-0 with his picks last night!
The Ottawa Senators' top center was absent from practice Monday and Tuesday. According to coach Paul MacLean, Spezza was injured during Ottawa's game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. MacLean also said he didn't know if Spezza would be available for the Senators' next game, against Montreal on Wednesday.
Jason Bull is a 37-year-old police officer from Perth, Australia, but this week he is a rookie at the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp. Bull will be blogging about his experiences from the Gretzky camp for NHL.com throughout the week:
LAS VEGAS -- Hockey has been my passion since I was around 10 or 11 years old. I first learned of the game while living in New Zealand.
My dad took me and my brothers along to a public skating session and at the end of that session, I saw some guys coming through the doors with their hockey equipment. I thought, 'What is going on here?'
So, we stuck around and watched a bit of it. We spent about an hour at the rink and I fell in love with it straight away. I said to my dad, 'This is the game I want to play.' He took me and my brothers back to the rink and we started training. It went from there.
And, to be here now, playing alongside Wayne Gretzky, a player I have admired for years, is beyond a dream come true.
"I think he gives Calgary a chance every night," the Hall of Fame goalie from Edmonton told NHL.com Monday from the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp. "You watch most nights and they give up a lot of scoring chances, but he gives them an opportunity every night."
Fuhr, who stays involved with the Oilers doing community relations work, also talked about four other current goalies he admires, starting with another Northwest Division rival, at least for now.
"I still like Roberto Luongo," he said. "Everybody else seems to be down on him a little bit, but I think he's a great goalie. He can be that difference. He's in a tough boat right now. It's unfortunate, but it's a tough spot to be in. But, he's a class guy and he's a great goalie. People may not think that, but he's still got all the talent in the world."
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You could see out there that everybody was willing to compete, to sacrifice, even blocking shots to the end. Even in the third when we were up 5-0, guys were still working hard and blocking shots That's a nice feeling also for the future.