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Tampa Bay win streak can reach double digits

Lightning aim for 10th straight as Flyers continue playoff push

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

LIGHTNING (39-22-4) at FLYERS (30-23-11)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; SUN, CSN-PH, NHL.TV

PHILADELPHIA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to extend their franchise-record winning streak to 10 games Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

During their streak they've gone from six points behind the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division to two points ahead of them.

"You go on a run like we have, and by no means are we out of the woods yet, but you start to separate yourself a little bit," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I think our goaltending has been outstanding, our special teams have come up big at the right times. Really propelled us to where we are."

What's also helped is the offensive outburst from the top two lines. While much attention has been paid to the "Triplets" line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, Cooper said Ryan Callahan's strong play on a line with Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn also has been a big key.

"When lines take pressure off each other it makes everybody have a little bit better chance for success," Cooper said.

Callahan has four goals and six assists during the nine-game streak. But it hasn't been just about points for the veteran right wing. Cooper pointed to the third period of a game Feb. 26 against New Jersey Devils.

"Everybody grows a couple inches taller when he's playing the way he can," Cooper said. "We were winning 4-0 against Jersey, there's a minute and 50 seconds left and Callahan laid out to block a shot. He easily could have let that one pass him but he laid out to block a shot. That says who Ryan Callahan is. He's a team-first guy, wears his heart on his sleeve, and guys follow him."

Callahan, who had two goals and 12 points in 35 games prior to his current streak, said he feels like he's playing his best hockey of the season.

"Points are one thing," he said. "I went through a long stretch without some points and that stands out. During that stretch I tried to concentrate on other things. I was getting opportunities but they weren't going in the net. Nice to get rewarded now. When you start to put the puck in the net you get confidence and you make more plays. You're willing to try a pass you weren't before, try a shot you weren't before. I think I'm playing my best right now."

The Flyers have won four of five games (4-1-0) as they enter the finale of their six-game homestand. Forward Jakub Voracek had said before the start of the homestand that his team needed at least 10 points to stay in the race for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. A win Monday would allow them to meet that goal. They are four points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"We set ourselves a goal for the homestand," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "If we can actually get it I think we're going to be in position to make a playoff push. We know that they're coming in hot with a nine-game winning streak. So we need to be ready."

It will be defenseman Radko Gudas' first game against his former team. Gudas was traded to the Flyers on March 2. He's also coming off the best game of his career, a two-goal, two-assist game Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I've just got to play my game," Gudas said. "Play simple and make sure I'm great defensively. The offense is going to come by itself. I have to make sure I'm in the right position at the right time and see from there."

This will be the first game between the teams since they played Oct. 8 at Amalie Arena.

"No Gostisbehere, no Gudas [then]," Cooper said. "They had Voracek then, which they don't have now. Some important pieces of the puzzle they had and not had. I just think it's 65 games later. … When we played them at the beginning of the year everyone was 0-0-0. Now teams are jockeying for position to make the playoffs. We play them a couple times here in the next week [they also play Thursday in Tampa Bay]. This should be a tough game because both teams have a lot on the line."

Here are the projected lineups:

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - J.T. Brown
Brian Boyle - Vladislav Namestnikov - Erik Condra

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Matthew Carle - Jason Garrison
Nikita Nesterov - Slater Koekkoek

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Ben Bishop

Injured: Braydon Coburn (lower body), Andrej Sustr (upper body)
Scratched: Jonathan Marchessault

Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Sam Gagner
Scott Laughton - Nick Cousins - Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Steve Mason
Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Jakub Voracek (lower body), Michael Del Zotto (wrist), Jordan Weal (upper body)
Scratched: R.J. Umberger, Evgeny Medvedev

Status report: Vasilevskiy will start in goal Monday and Bishop will start Tuesday against the Boston Bruins, Cooper said. … Coburn remains day-to-day but will miss at least two more games. … Mason will make his second straight start. He had 19 saves in the 6-0 win against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Who's hot: Stamkos has seven goals and three assists during the nine-game win streak. … Schenn has seven goals and seven assists in his past 12 games.

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