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Flyers' Lecavalier set to face Lightning for first time

by Sean McCullen

FLYERS (10-11-2) at LIGHTNING (15-8-1)


Last 10: Philadelphia 6-2-2; Tampa Bay 5-4-1

Season series: This is the first of three games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, who meet again in Philadelphia on Jan. 11. The Lightning won two of three games against the Flyers in 2012-13.

Big story: Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier will play his first game against the Lightning after spending the first 14 seasons of his career with Tampa Bay.

"It's obviously going to be a special day," said Lecavalier, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004. "I'll be excited about it -- going back into the building, a different entranceway, different locker room. But I'm excited about it. I'm excited to play against my ex-teammates, friends, play in front of family. It's going to be a lot of fun."

The Lightning bought out the final seven years of Lecavalier's contract in June. The Flyers signed him July 6.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Philadelphia lost in regulation for the first time in eight games when they were beaten 3-1 by the Florida Panthers on Monday.

"We got distracted. Maybe we thought we were the better team and coming here would be an easy game," forward Scott Hartnell said. "When you underestimate your opponent in this League, you're going to lose the game. We did just that."

Lecavalier returns to Tampa as the Lightning's all-time leader in goals and games played. He has eight goals and five assists in 19 games this season.

Lightning: Tampa Bay snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-0 win against the New York Rangers on Monday. Nikita Kucherov scored his first NHL goal in his first game. The Russian right wing was Tampa Bay's second-round pick (No. 58) at the 2011 NHL Draft.

"First of all, he's not afraid to shoot the puck," coach Jon Cooper said, "and you've got a good chance of scoring when you shoot. That will not be the last goal that kid will score in the NHL."

The Lightning are happy to be home following a disastrous four-game West Coast road trip. After losing three games to the Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks by a combined 16-6 score, they lost to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday on Ryan Getzlaf's goal with 5.2 seconds left in overtime.

Who's hot: Flyers right wing Matt Read has four goals his past three games, including the game-winner against the Buffalo Sabres last Thursday. Forward Wayne Simmonds has goals in two straight games and four of his past five. … Lightning forward Martin St. Louis had two goals and an assist against the Rangers, giving him five points his past five games. He has 10 goals this season, second for Tampa Bay behind injured star Steven Stamkos (14).

Injury report: Flyers defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion) has not played this season. Philadelphia is otherwise healthy. … Stamkos (broken right tibia) is out indefinitely. He told reporters Monday that he had been walking without crutches for two days. Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas (upper body) did not play against the Rangers, and is considered day-to-day. Forward Tom Pyatt (collarbone), who returned to practice Saturday, and defenseman Brian Lee (knee) are out indefinitely, and forward Ryan Malone (lower body) is on injured reserve. Defenseman Keith Aulie (upper body) hasn't played since Nov. 11, but participated in a full-contact practice Sunday.

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