Better With Popcorn

Flyers/Bolts: Will Lightning Strike A Third Time?


As the second half of the season begins tonight the Philadelphia Flyers (33-12-5) find the Tampa Bay Lightning (31-15-5) just four points behind them in the Eastern Conference standings.

With the Flyers notorious for having let-down games before and after long breaks, they managed to beat the Canadiens 5-2 heading into the All-Star break.

Tonight they will look to break the back end of the trend when they take on the Tampa bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.

Matchup

This is the third of four meetings between these two teams with the Lightning taking the first two in Philly, both by one goal. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the hottest team in the league right now.

They have won five straight and are 7-3 in their last ten, they lead the Southeast division by four points. The Flyers have won their last two games against pretty good teams, beating the Blackhawks and Canadiens, outscoring them 9-3 in those two games.

The Flyers are 8-2 in their last ten and won eight of their first nine to start off January. The Flyers are still tops in the league in goals for at 3.46 while the Lightning are in the ninth spot averaging 2.92 goals per game.

The Lightning are surrendering 2.98 goals per game with the Flyers giving up 2.54 per game. The Flyers and the Lightning are just about even on the kill with a success rate of 83 percent. The Lightning have the edge with the man advantage as they are connecting 20.8 percent of the time while the Flyers are connecting at a 17.7 percent rate.

The Flyers power play had shined in the last game versus the Canadiens as they scored three power play goals, the second time they done so this season. The Flyers seemed to struggle against the Lightning whether they are good or bad at the time they meet.

The Lightning are 16-4-2 at home this season. With the Bolts on fire right now the Flyers will have to brush the cobwebs off their lunch pails and put in an honest effort tonight.

In The Nets

Looks like the Flyers are going to start the second half of the season like they started the first half with Sergei Borovsky (21-6-3) getting the nod tonight.

He comes into this game against the Lightning looking to extend his current winning streak to seven games. Bobrovsky has not surrendered more than two goals a game during that time.

Tampa Bay Lightning will more than likely throw Dwayne Roloson (13-16-1) at the Flyers tonight. He is 4-1-0 with a 1.61 GAA in his last five starts at home.

It's not surprising the Bolts are second in the Eastern Conference as they have been getting good goaltending lately and they have surrendered one goal or fewer in eleven of their last twenty one games.

Larry's Logic

There will be plenty of challenges tonight for the Flyers so staying out of the box is crucial tonight as the NHL leader on goals Steven Stamkos will make them pay. He recorded a hatty against the Flyers in their last meeting giving him four goals in his last two games against the Flyers, while Martin St. Louis picked up a career high five assists in the 8-7 win.

Another challenge for the Flyers is trying to pick up where they left off on the power play before the break where they went 3 for 5 with the man advantage versus the Habs. Special teams play is always a key part of every hockey game, especially the play offs, the Flyers will need to work on being more consistent in their special teams play.

The biggest challenge for these Flyers tonight will be not starting out flat and lethargic. It is normal for any team coming off the break to use the first ten minutes of the first period to get their legs back underneath them.

The problem with the Flyers is that their ten minute feeling out period usually extends into the second period. With the Flyers playing well going into the All-Star break and with their PP finally clicking, this may not have been the best time for that break.

Notes

Don't look for Jody Shelley to be in the lineup tonight as he is battling the flu along with Oskars Bartulis. JVR and Carcillo will be in the lineup tonight. For JVR it will be his first game back since suffering a lower body injury.

Ryan Malone will be out of the lineup for the Lightning as he isn't quite ready to return to the lineup.

Step Up Players

Mike Richards
Andreas Nodl
Nickolay Zherdev

Twitter/@Wrecktangled