NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, December 23rd
(All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (15-18-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (13-14-9), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The lowly Philadelphia Flyers will try to avoid a fifth
consecutive loss when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for tonight's clash
at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Flyers have 32 points on the year, a total that places them ahead of only
the Carolina Hurricanes in the entire NHL. Philadelphia has lost six of seven,
11 of 13 and 14 of its last 17 games and is just 2-7-1 in 10 games since Peter
Laviolette took over as head coach.
Philly was in action Monday against the Florida Panthers and was dealt a 4-1
loss to finish a three-game homestand with an 0-2-1 record. The Flyers have
combined for just five goals during their current four-game slide and have
scored just nine times in seven games.
Nathan Horton scored two goals to lead the Panthers to the easy win at
Wachovia Center. Braydon Coburn had the lone goal for the fading Flyers.
"I think everyone has to dig a little bit deeper, work a little bit harder. We
seem timid to make plays," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.
Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher left the game early in the second period after
suffering a cut on his right hand. Boucher allowed two goals on 13 shots
before leaving and Michael Leighton stopped 15-of-17 shots the rest of the
Boucher was unable to make the trip to Tampa, meaning Leighton will get the
start tonight and Johan Backlund will serve as the backup.
However, the Flyers should get Darroll Powe back tonight as the forward has
been cleared to play following a shoulder injury that has caused him to miss
the last 16 games. Powe, who hasn't played since November 20 against San Jose,
has six goals this season.
Philadelphia is beginning a six-game road trip tonight that will take the club
into the 2010 calendar year. The Flyers are just 6-9-0 as the visiting team
this year and have lost four of their last five road games.
The Lightning come into tonight having won two in a row, marking just the
third time this year that the team has posted consecutive victories. Tampa's
recent wins came in the final two games of a six-game road trip and ended a
season-high, six-game losing streak.
The Bolts notched their most recent win Monday night against the New York
Islanders. Ryan Malone had a pair of power-play goals in the third period and
added two assists to lead Tampa Bay to the 4-2 win on Long Island.
Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist for the
Lightning. Mike Smith stopped 36 shots in the victory.
Tampa Bay had not won consecutive games since beating Montreal and Minnesota
back-to-back in early November. The Lightning haven't won three in a row since
The Lightning, who have lost five of their last seven in Tampa, are beginning
a five-game homestand tonight. The Bolts are 7-4-4 as the host this season.
The Flyers pounded Tampa, 6-2, when the clubs met up north this season and
Philly has taken three of four and four of the last six matchups in this
series. Philadelphia has also won two of three and three of its last five at
12/23 10:58:18 ET