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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, December 18th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (13-10-4-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (17-4-8-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers try to bounce back from their first two home losses of the season tonight when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Wachovia Center.

After starting the season 12-0-2 in its own rink, Philly has fallen to New Jersey and Calgary in the first two portions of a four-game homestand. After getting shut out by the Devils, 2-0, last Saturday, the Flyers dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Calgary on Tuesday.

Former Flyer Dean McAmmond tied the game midway through the third period and posted the game-winning goal with 1:27 left in overtime to lift the Flames.

Jeremy Roenick and John LeClair both scored for Philadelphia, which fell to 13-3-5 in its last 21 games overall. Jeff Hackett turned aside 23 shots in a losing effort.

With 44 points, the Flyers are tied with Toronto and Detroit for the best mark in the National Hockey League. Ken Hitchcock's club leads the Atlantic Division by five points over New Jersey.

Philadelphia will host the NY Islanders on Saturday.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has lost four straight games and is 2-8-2 in its last 12 overall. On Tuesday the Lightning dropped a 3-0 contest to the host Maple Leafs.

Nikolai Khabibulin allowed two goals on 20 shots for the Lightning, who now sit five points behind first-place Atlanta in the Southeast Division race.

Tampa Bay has been outscored by a combined 16-6 margin during its current losing streak.

Caught in the middle of the Bolts' funk is star center Vincent Lecavalier, who has not scored in seven straight games and has only one tally in the last 14. Winger Martin St. Louis has also converted just once in the past 14.

Tampa, 2-5-1 in its last eight road tilts, will host Dallas on Saturday.

The Flyers went 3-1 against the Lightning last season and are 7-1-2 in the last 10 meetings. Tampa Bay snapped a 13-game road winless slide in the series last January, but is 1-9-4 in its last 14 trips to the City of Brotherly Love.

12/18 10:15:02 ET

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