NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, October 14th
(All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Simon Gagne makes his return to Philadelphia tonight as the
unbeaten Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Flyers for a clash at the Wells Fargo
Gagne was drafted in the first round by the Flyers in 1998 and remained in
Philadelphia until being traded this summer to Tampa for defenseman Matt
Walker, who is currently sidelined with a hip/groin injury, and a fourth-round
pick in the 2011 draft.
The 30-year-old winger recorded 259 goals and 524 points in 10 seasons with
the Flyers and tonight marks Gagne's first game in Philly as a member of the
opposition. Gagne has yet to register a point in two games with the Lightning.
"It'll be special," Gagne told CSNPhilly.com. "It will mean a lot. I spent 11
years there and 11 years in one life is a lot. And it's not just the 11 years.
I started my career there. I was a rookie there. When I left home for the
first time I went to Philly. ... Going back there is going to be weird. It's
going to be hard."
Philadelphia will pay tribute to Gagne with a highlight video scheduled to
play on the big screen during the first period of tonight's test.
Tampa Bay improved to 2-0 on the young season with an overtime victory in
Montreal on Wednesday. Ryan Malone scored the game-winner with 51 seconds
remaining in OT to lift the Lighting to a dramatic 4-3 win in the home opener
at Bell Centre.
Steven Stamkos scored on the power play with less than two minutes to go in
regulation to send the game to OT, while Brett Clark and Martin St. Louis also
tallied for Tampa Bay. Stamkos, who tied for the league lead in goals last
season, already has three tallies in 2010-11.
Mike Smith was in net in the opener and was credited with the win on Wednesday
after stopping 24-of-27 shots.
With a minute left in the extra session, Malone battled to win the puck off a
faceoff from the left circle. His initial shot was denied, as was a stuff by
Dominic Moore, but the puck squirted back to Malone, who came around from the
back of the net to put in the game-winner.
"On the winning goal I had to help on the faceoff. Then the puck came right in
my range and I was able to whack it and I tried to whack it as hard as I
could," recalled Malone.
The Lightning are playing the middle test of a three-game road trip and will
cap the swing Saturday evening against the rival Florida Panthers.
The Flyers are coming off a win in their home opener on Monday and tonight
will play the second test of a five-game homestand -- the club's longest
residency of the season.
Philadelphia improved to 2-0-1 on the season with its 4-2 victory over the
Avalanche. Jeff Carter scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner late
in the third period, on a night that saw the Flyers raise their 2009-10
Eastern Conference champions banner to the rafters.
Claude Giroux and Darroll Powe also lit the lamp for Philadelphia, which
bounced back from a 2-1 overtime loss to the Blues on Saturday.
"It was a good feeling to see that banner go up, but that's also not the
banner we want up there," Giroux said. "It was fun. The coach made a point to
make sure that we'd get down to business after that and the guys were ready to
Sergei Bobrovsky, making his second career start, turned aside 25-of-27 shots
for the Flyers to improve to 2-0 as an NHL goaltender. It's unclear if
Brian Boucher or the undrafted 22-year-old rookie will get the start tonight.
The Flyers won all four meetings against Tampa last season and have taken five
straight, six of seven and seven of the last nine encounters overall. The
Bolts have also dropped three in a row and four of their last five games in
10/14 10:43:02 ET