NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 11th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (26-14-4) at Philadelphia Flyers (23-17-4), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Philadelphia Flyers will try to keep a
lengthy home winning streak alive on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the
Tampa Bay Lightning to Wells Fargo Center.
In addition to winning three straight and seven of eight overall, the Flyers
have notched 10 consecutive victories on home ice and the club hasn't lost in
South Philadelphia since dropping a 3-0 decision to New Jersey on Nov. 7. It's
the longest winning streak on home ice for Philadelphia since an 11-game tear
from Oct. 27-Dec. 5, 2003.
The recent upswing has the Flyers in a tie with Washington for second place in
the Metropolitan Division, but they are still 16 points behind the Pittsburgh
Penguins for the top spot.
Philadelphia earned its latest victory on Wednesday, downing the visiting
Montreal Canadiens by a 3-1 score.
Steve Mason stopped 19 shots in the win over the Habs and the Flyers offense
struck three times in the first half of regulation. Sean Couturier, Zac
Rinaldo and Michael Raffl tallied for the Flyers, who were playing in their
first home game since Dec. 23 after going 5-1-0 on a six-game road trip.
"We're winning a lot of different ways. Tonight I thought we had a real good
first period. We got the lead and did what we had to do to win the game,"
noted Flyers head coach Craig Berube. "I think they're confident guys right
now and believe they can win. They're not always going to play their best
hockey but we're squeezing wins out."
Andrej Meszaros tied a career high with three assists to help the Flyers
improve to 12-7-0 on home ice this season.
Philadelphia, however, has not fared well against the Lightning in recent
years, losing two straight, five of six and nine of the last 12 meetings in
this series. Tampa recorded a 4-2 home win over the Flyers on Nov. 27, as
Victor Hedman scored two goals for the Bolts and Anders Lindback made 19 saves
in the victory.
The Flyers have won two of three and five of the last eight meetings in
Tampa Bay lost for the second time in three games on Thursday, dropping a
heartbreaking 4-3 regulation decision in Washington. The Lightning clawed
their way back from an early 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period,
but they failed to get a point thanks to Eric Fehr's game-winning marker with
52 seconds left in regulation.
Tyler Johnson, B.J. Crombeen and Ondrej Palat scored one goal apiece for the
Lightning, who had won three of four entering the contest. Lindback allowed
all four goals on 20 shots in the setback.
Washington led 3-2 entering the final period, but Palat, who is riding an
eight-game point streak, tipped in a Matt Carle shot to tie things up with
5:30 left. Fehr, though, netted the decisive score off a Mike Green shot from
the right circle with under a minute left.
"We clearly did not manage the last minute of the game," Tampa Bay head coach
Jon Cooper said. "We just broke down at the end. We haven't done that all year
and I suppose at some point it was bound to happen."
Tampa hopes to bounce back today on the road, where the club has won six of
its past seven to boost its away record to 12-9-2. The Bolts are kicking off a
three-game swing on Saturday and also will visit Columbus and the New York
Rangers before returning to Central Florida.
With Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop still dealing with a sprained right
wrist, Lindback expects to get the start again on Saturday. His win over the
Flyers on Nov. 27 came in his first career outing against the Flyers.
01/11 10:26:04 ET