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Flyers-Lightning Preview

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
To view the game notes for tonight's game, click here.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking more like the defending Stanley Cup champions with each successive game.

The rejuvenated Lightning pursue their fourth win in five games when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center.

Tampa Bay opened November with six straight losses before defeating the Flyers on Nov. 14 at home by a 5-2 score.

Since then, the Lightning have won three of four, including a 5-2 road win Sunday over the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. With its second victory of the season over Carolina, Tampa Bay moved within six points of the Hurricanes.

"It's a division game, it's a team that's in front of us and we're chasing," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "Coming in here, into their building, and grabbing a couple of points is very important."

Tampa Bay's Ruslan Fedotenko has goals in three straight games and Fredrik Modin has three goals and two assists in his last four appearances.

Scoring leader Vaclav Prospal has quietly put together a 13-game points streak with eight goals and 13 assists during his run. He had a hat trick in Tampa Bay's win over Philadelphia earlier this month.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, is looking for its league-leading 10th home win of the season. The Flyers have dropped two straight overtime decisions on home ice and are tied with the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators for the most home wins.

Philadelphia is coming off a 6-3 road win Saturday over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Simon Gagne scored twice - including his league-leading 20th - and the Flyers added three scores in the third period.

"We didn't sit back and wait for them to come at us like we did the last couple of games," Philadelphia center Peter Forsberg said. "We kept on playing and we got another goal."

Gagne, who needs four goals to match his output in 80 games in 2003-04, has five multi-goal games this season.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 21): Lightning - 23 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Southeast Division. Flyers - 27 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Prospal, 13 goals, 18 assists and 31 points; Pavel Kubina, 38 PIM. Flyers - Gagne, 20 goals; Forsberg, 30 assists and 36 points; Joni Pitkanen, 38 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 21): Lightning - Power play: 13.8 percent (19 for 137), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (98 for 116), 9th. Flyers - Power play: 21 percent (28 for 133), 6th. Penalty killing: 74.8 percent (98 for 133), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - John Grahame (8-8-1, 1 SO, 2.85 GAA); Sean Burke (2-0-2, 0, 1.87). Flyers - Robert Esche (8-3-2, 0, 3.29); Antero Niittymaki (4-1-1, 0, 3.61).

SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 14; Lightning, 5-2. At Tampa, Fla., Prospal scored three goals and the Lightning limited Philadephia to a pair of power-play tallies by Forsberg.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 5-5-2 on the road; Flyers - 9-1-2 at home.
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