Flyers Look For Spark Against Lightning
Larry DAngelo on Tue, 2011-12-27 12:15
After a short holiday break, the Philadelphia Flyers (21-9-4) will continue on their current five game road trip in Florida when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (14-17-3).
Despite losing their last road game to the New York Rangers, the Flyers are still sporting the league's best road record (13-4-2).
The Flyers are now 2-2-1 in their last five and surrendered 17 goals. But that last five games' woes go beyond the score board.
The Flyers lost one player to a concussion (Sean Couturier) and lost another for the season (Chris Pronger) during that span.
They also surrendered the top spot in the Atlantic Division to the New York Rangers when they lost to them on Friday night, 4-2. With more than half the season left , the Flyers will have to have some things start to go their way.
For one they will need to stay healthy which is the same for all 30 teams. Now a days it seems like a gamble when a player steps on the ice, as even the simplest hits are causing head injuries. This may be their toughest challenge of them all.
They also will need stronger goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov.
So far, Bryzgalov has not lived up to his 51 million dollar contract as his 14-7-3 record may suggest. To be fair he is still feeling out his defense and it does not help that the pairings change due to injury.
Bryzgalov and the defense need to communicate better as it seems he does not like having shots blocked for him as they can lead to deflection goals, as we've seen earlier on this season.
Ironically Sergei Bobrovsky (7-2-1) has looked like the better goaltender more often than not.
The Flyers must not trade Bobrovsky this season as Bryzgalov has not been consistent. Until Bryzgalov does, Bobrovsky will continue to play an important role in the success of this team.
This is the third meeting between these two teams this season. The Flyers are 1-0-1 in those matchups, surrendering four goals while netting six.
The Flyers are no longer the highest scoring team in the league, that title now belongs to the Boston Bruins (3.52), the Flyers are right behind them averaging 3.47 goals per game.
The Flyers should have little trouble scoring tonight as the Lightning are 29th in the league in goals against surrendering 3.35 goals per game.
Tampa Bay have been struggling with the man advantage lately, they are 3-for-32 in December. The Flyers penalty kill unit, which ranks 15th in the league, will try to keep that trend going.
The real matchup will come between two of the league's top young stars, Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos. Despite missing four games, Giroux is leading the NHL in points with 43 while Stamkos is in a four-way tie in goals with 20.
These two players are electrifying and fun to watch, let's hope the 1-3-1 defense that the Lightning like to play does not show up tonight and ruin a good show, as it did the last time the Flyers visited Tampa.
Step Up Players
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