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Flyers, Bolts hope momentum carries over

by Adam Kimelman /
FLYERS (33-12-5) at LIGHTNING (31-15-5)


Last 10 -- Philadelphia 8-2-0; Tampa Bay 7-3-0.

Season series -- This is the third of four meetings between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference this season. The Lightning have taken the first two games, both in Philadelphia and by one goal each, but in totally different fashion. They beat the Flyers 3-2 on Oct. 14, and rallied from three two-goal deficits to win an 8-7 shootout Nov. 18. Steven Stamkos had a hat trick and Martin St. Louis had 5 assists in the game.

Big Story -- The red-hot Lightning look to continue their dominance of the Flyers this season, while Philadelphia needs a win to stay ahead of the Canucks for the top spot in the League standings.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- Teammates -- and housemates -- Danny Briere and Claude Giroux enjoyed their time as foes for All-Star Weekend. Danny Briere had 2 goals for Team Lidstrom in its 11-10 victory against Team Staal. Giroux had a goal for Team Staal in the losing effort.

"I knew when I scored I looked at him on the bench and he wasn't laughing, so I'm like he's going to start trying now," Giroux told Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

"I had to find a way to get back at him," Briere told CSN-Philadelphia. "Overall it was fun to see, we both scored. The right team won the game, so everybody's happy -- maybe except him a little bit."

Lightning -- Tampa Bay comes out of the All-Star break the hottest team in the League, with five straight wins. Their 67 points gives them a four-point lead on Washington for the top spot in the Southeast Division, and four points behind the Flyers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Not bad, considering this team was 25th in the NHL on Feb. 1, 2010. And there's a rookie GM, a rookie coach and a number of injuries that have sidelined key players like Simon Gagne, Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Downie.

"I was really confident that with Guy (Boucher, coach), with the system, with the team that we have and the players they signed, that something good was going to happen here," said Gagne. "To be second in the conference? Maybe not. We were talking about maybe (being) a team battling to make the playoffs. Now we're battling for first place."

Who's Hot -- Giroux has a point in seven straight games for the Flyers. He has 3 goals and 7 assists in that span. … Gagne has 3 goals in his last two games and 6 goals in his last eight. That's after scoring just 3 goals in his first 25 games.

Injury Report -- Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk is questionable for Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury. He's missed the last two games with the problem. … Lightning forward Ryan Malone is questionable with an undisclosed injury. He's missed the last two games.

Stat Pack -- The Lightning are third in the League in fewest shots allowed per game, at 27.8, but they're 22nd in goals-allowed per game at 2.98.

Puck Drop -- Briere was the All-Star Game MVP in 2007, but he said his experience this past weekend in Carolina were much more meaningful.

This time, Briere had his three sons -- Caelan, 12; Carson, 11; and Cameron, 9 -- with him, and they got to experience every part of All-Star Weekend, including each getting to spend a period behind the bench.

"All three of them had their turn behind the bench coaching with Peter (Laviolette) and his kids," Briere told "That was pretty cool. I said it before, I was coming here trying to enjoy it with them, to share it with them. That's what I'll remember most about this experience."

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