Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Flyers Pre-Game: Look out for the Lightning

VOORHEES, N.J. - There's no question the Flyers really need to put together a little win streak to keep pace with the early playoff spot contenders in the Eastern Conference. That's why tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning seems like such bad timing.
The Lightning are coming off a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday night, but still lead the Southeast Division with a 6-2 record. What's more, the memory a 5-1 victory over the Flyers in Tampa Jan. 27 is still too fresh.
It may not have meant anything that coach Peter Laviolette chose to have the club's morning skate today at the Skate Zone in Voorhees rather than the usual spot at Wells Fargo Center. Then again, maybe Laviolette is cooking up something special that he didn't want any Lightning staff to see this morning. All Laviolette said was he was in search of "a little more privacy."
No matter what secret weapon strategies were possibly formed, the Flyers know the challenge immediately ahead. The Lightning leads the NHL with a 36.1 percent success ratio on the power play and with 39 goals scored through only eight games.
"When you have a (Steven) Stamkos, a (Marty) St. Louis and (Ryan) Malone on one line, and come back with Vinny (Lecavalier) and (Ted) Purcell and the young kid (Cory) Conacher, that's six world class players there," said Flyers defenseman Kurtis Foster, who played in Tampa in 2009-10. "That can hurt you. And adding (Sami) Salo and Matty Carle, from here, that adds to their puck-moving ability (on defense). They're a young team that's playing really well right now. When you have everybody going at the same time, that leads to a lot of goals."
Stamkos, who went for 60 last season, leads the club with 7 goals and 16 points ... an average of two points per game. St. Louis, still great at 37, follows with 14 points. Lecavalier, the team captain also off to a good start, has been saying he plans to play in this game despite missing practice yesterday due to a badly bruised foot. He took a shot off it in the Rangers game.


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