Flyers-Lightning Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 17, 2013
After snapping a lengthy home losing streak, the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to keep heading in the right direction with another dominant performance against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Flyers, meanwhile, will seek to build off a hard-fought win and avoid a season high-tying fourth consecutive road defeat Monday night. Tampa Bay (12-15-1) ended its first five-game home skid in four seasons by keeping Carolina off the scoreboard for most of a 4-1 victory Saturday. The Lightning's bid for their first shutout of the season ended with 13:39 remaining. "I think every game right now has a sense of urgency," said center Nate Thompson, who scored his sixth goal. "I thought we played a pretty complete game tonight. We've got to build off it. We've got a pretty good team coming in on Monday." Tyler Johnson notched his first NHL goal and had an assist in his second game in the league. Ondrej Palat also recorded his first NHL goal in his seventh career game. Their efforts helped Tampa Bay score more than three goals for just the second time in 11 contests. "We've been focusing on defense so long that our offense got away, but focusing on that today paid off," said coach Guy Boucher, whose club is 2-7-1 at home since opening 5-0-0 there. Boucher's team has had few problems getting pucks in the net in the past two visits from Philadelphia (13-15-1), winning each game 5-1. The latest came Jan. 27 as Martin St. Louis had a season-high four assists and Teddy Purcell added three points, helping Tampa Bay go to 4-0-1 in its last five home games against the Flyers. The Lightning, though, fell 2-1 in Philadelphia on Feb. 5 in the most recent meeting. The Flyers have dropped their last three road games by a combined 12-4 score, falling to 4-11-0 away from home. They lost 5-2 at New Jersey on Wednesday but rebounded for a 2-1 shootout win over the Devils on Friday. Max Talbot scored his second goal in three games, and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 27 shots after going 1-3-0 with a 3.94 goals-against average over his previous five starts. "We needed to win a hockey game," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was something that had to be done. We have to give ourselves a fighting chance." The win was a small bit of help for the Flyers, who like the Lightning are currently outside of playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia, though, is just four points behind eighth-place Carolina while Tampa Bay trails by six. "Sadly, we've put ourselves in a rough spot," center Danny Briere said. "There's no other way around it. We're not going to be allowed to drop too many games from here going out." Scott Hartnell will try to help by extending a five-game goal scoring streak against the Lightning, but he's been limited to five points in 13 games since returning from a broken foot. Hartnell was second on the Flyers last season with 67 points. Tampa Bay scoring leader Steven Stamkos hopes to avoid going pointless in a season-high third consecutive game. He has four goals in his last four matchups with the Flyers, and six in their last six visits to Tampa. This is the Flyers' only game until a visit to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
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