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Preview: Lightning at Flyers

Shayne Gostisbehere expected back in Philadelphia lineup; Tampa Bay leaning on Nikita Kucherov

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LIGHTNING (11-6-1) at FLYERS (8-7-3)

1 p.m. ET; SN, CSN-PH, SUN, NHL.TV

 

Lightning team scope

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman skated on his own after practice at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday but will miss a fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. Though the Lightning won't have Stralman and center Steven Stamkos, who is expected to miss four months after having knee surgery Thursday, they have forward Nikita Kucherov, who is tied with Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets for the NHL lead with 22 points. Lightning coach Jon Cooper compared the impact Kucherov has had on the Lightning to legends not just in hockey but in other sports. "That's why Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan," Cooper told the Lightning website. "He made a bunch of clutch shots and was a phenomenal player. That's why Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky, you go down the list of guys, they're all great hockey players. Some guys have a knack to rise above the rest. You go around the NHL and every team has one or two guys, and [Kucherov] is one of those guys for us. The bigger the moment, the more ice he has in his veins." Cooper said Kucherov is more than an offensive performer; his plus-10 leads the Lightning. "He's really developed in all aspects of the game," Cooper said. "He wants to be a hockey player, not just a goal-scorer. Now that's all paying off for him."

 

Flyers team scope

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is expected to return to the Philadelphia Flyers lineup after being scratched against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Gostisbehere was paired with Michael Del Zotto, his usual defense partner, during practice Friday. "I've got to be held accountable for my play too," the 23-year-old told the Courier-Post on Friday. "I'm not going to be given anything, so I've got to put in my work, put on my hardhat and go to work every day, and that's what I'm going to do." Rookie forward Travis Konecny, who has been a steady presence on the second line all season, had two shifts in the third period of the 5-2 win against the Jets. He was back in his usual spot with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek on Friday. "I think I've been fighting the puck a little bit the last couple games," the 19-year-old said. "I'd rather the guys that are going [strong] be out on the ice anyways, and we closed out that third period perfectly." Hakstol said the moves he made Thursday are part of the development of two of his younger players. "When you base them in good, solid thought, usually it turns out good for the player," Hakstol said. "There's a communication element to it that happens either before, during or after the fact, and then from there you go back to work and continue pushing forward. It should be an immediate positive for the player even though it's tough to take."

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Brayden Point

Jonathan Drouin -- Valtteri Filppula -- Ryan Callahan

Brian Boyle -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov -- Jason Garrison

Slater Koekkoek -- Braydon Coburn

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Anton Stralman (upper body)

 

Flyers projected lineup

Brayden Schenn -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde -- Nick Cousins -- Dale Weise

Michael Del Zotto -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov -- Mark Streit

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov, Nick Schultz, Andrew MacDonald

Injured: Michal Neuvirth (lower body), Boyd Gordon (upper body)

 

Status report

Hedman did not practice because of body maintenance, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Paquette, who sustained an upper-body injury in the second period of a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, practiced Friday. … MacDonald, who returned from a lower-body injury to play in Gostisbehere's place Thursday, likely won't play. He practiced on a fourth defense pair with Nick Schultz.

 

Who's hot

Kucherov has four goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. … Voracek has four goals and five assists in his past 10 games.

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