Lightning-Flyers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 04, 2013
Tampa-bay-lightning-new
The Tampa Bay Lightning may be coming off their worst offensive performance of the season by their standards, but Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are major reasons they're the highest scoring team in the NHL. Just over a week ago, the Philadelphia Flyers fell victim to that potent offense yet again. Stamkos and St. Louis look to continue their respective scoring tears with another strong performance against the Flyers, as the Lightning attempt to maintain their dominant stretch in this series Tuesday night. Tampa Bay (6-2-0) is scoring 4.9 goals per game, leading the league by more than a goal. Stamkos and St. Louis have keyed that tremendous production with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Stamkos, who led the NHL with a career-high and franchise-record 60 goals last season, has a point in every game so far and has six goals and five assists in a five-game goal-scoring streak. St. Louis has nine assists during a five-game point streak of his own, and he got four of them in a 5-1 win over the Flyers (3-6-0) on Jan. 27, while Stamkos had a goal and an assist. Stamkos got two more goals Saturday, but the Lightning fell 3-2 to the New York Rangers, concluding a 4-1-0 homestand while being held below three goals for the first time this season. "You look at the big picture, if you said we would have taken eight of a possible 10 points, we'd take that all the time," Stamkos said. Tampa Bay now embarks on its first extended trip of the season, playing four games in six days, and starting it against the Flyers may be just what it needs. The Lightning are 7-1-1 in the last nine matchups, going 3-1-0 in Philadelphia while scoring 18 goals. Stamkos certainly enjoys playing the Flyers, scoring 12 goals with six assists in 17 games, with four of those goals in the past three contests. St. Louis has 21 points in the past 11 matchups, and 33 in 20 career regular-season visits to Philadelphia - 10 coming in the past four. He had a career high-tying five points - all assists - in an 8-7 win there Nov. 18, 2010. The Flyers are hoping they've begun solving their scoring issues after winning 5-3 against Carolina on Saturday, ending a four-game slide during which they totaled four goals. They rank toward the bottom of the league with 2.3 goals per game. "We need some more presence in front of the net, trying to find some loose pucks and getting to the gritty areas," said center Danny Briere, who got his first goal of the season Saturday. "That's what the coaches have talked about." Production on the power play surely helps. The unit scored on all three opportunities against the Hurricanes after going 5 for 40 over the first eight games. "The power play, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn't," center Claude Giroux said. "It's just about making the right plays. When everybody on the ice knows what they're doing, it makes things easier." Giroux is looking to build on his goal and assist - both on the man-advantage - from Saturday after totaling two points over the previous six games. However, he has just five assists in the past nine meetings with Tampa Bay.
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