LIGHTNING (4-3-4) at FLYERS (6-4-1)
Tampa Bay 4-2-4; Philadelphia 5-4-1
This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. Last season, they split four games, with each winning once in the other's home arena. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter each had a pair of two-goal games for Philadelphia. Vinny Prospal had 3 goals in four games.
The Flyers are banged up at forward, but they're coming off a rout of the Hurricanes and have won three of their last four at home. The Lightning are winless on the road.
The Lightning were not happy with their effort following Saturday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Devils. "We didn't deserve any points," said forward Ryan Malone
. The credit for the point they did get for making the shootout goes to goaltender Antero Niittymaki, who made 37 saves in his first start since Oct. 17. "Nitty grabbed a point for us," coach Rick Tocchet said. "Three, four guys didn't come to play. You get flat."
Philadelphia split up the defense pairing of Kimmo Timonen
and Braydon Coburn
, and each had his best game of the season Saturday. A combined minus-19 together, Timonen had a pair of assists and a plus-2 rating and Coburn scored a pair of goals. "It's good that he had a game like that," coach John Stevens said of Coburn, who had a goal, 3 points and a minus-9 rating entering the game. "He's a good player and he does good things, but a young player needs confidence. You have a game like that where he gets a couple goals, has the puck a lot, gets the chance to play a lot, I think that will only up his confidence going forward."
Who's Hot --
Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos
has a goal in five straight games and a point in seven straight. Teammate Martin St. Louis
has an assist in a team-record 10-straight games. Scott Hartnell
seems to be getting on track for Philadelphia. After scoring just 1 goal and 4 points in his first nine games, he has 2 goals and 4 points in his last two games.
Injury Report --
Tampa has a healthy team. Philadelphia forwards Simon Gagne and Danny Briere
are out with groin injuries. Gagne was diagnosed with two small hernias in his right groin and could need surgery. Briere is day-to-day with a strained groin suffered in practice last week. Defenseman Ryan Parent, who missed two games with a groin injury, sat out the third period Saturday with renewed soreness in the area but could play Monday.
Stat Pack --
Not only does Tampa have four shootout losses, their shooters are a combined 0-for-14 during the penalty-shot competition this season.
"Those are big points," Niittymaki said. "It might not feel like it right now, but when it comes April and you miss the playoffs by one point, you look back and if you lose five or six shootouts, those are huge points. We try to work on them, but I think it's just mental right now. We have skill here to score goals."
Puck Drop --
With a pair of top-six forwards shelved with injuries, the Flyers need other players to step up.
"Obviously, when two key players (Gagne and Briere) like that go out, it takes everyone stepping up their game a little bit to help carry the weight," said rookie left wing James van Riemsdyk
, who had a goal and an assist Saturday. "Different guys stepped up tonight, and that's what we need to continue to do."
The Flyers' defense also chipped in with a combined 3 goals and 5 assists Saturday, including a goal and 2 assists from Matt Carle
; with 12 points, Carle is tied for third in the League in scoring among defensemen.
-- Adam Kimelman, NHL.com