Lightning (12-15-1, 25 Points) vs. Flyers (13-15-1, 27 Points)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network; AM 970 WFLA
This is the third and final meeting of the year between the two clubs. So far this season the Lightning and Flyers have split each of the first two games, with the Bolts taking the first matchup back on January 27 in Tampa Bay by a 5-1 score before Philadelphia returned the favor just a few days later after earning a 2-1 victory on February 5 at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Big Story:
Tampa Bay got back on the winning track Saturday night after defeating division-rival Carolina to close the gap to seven points between itself and first-place Winnipeg in the Southeast Division standings. It will look to build on that before heading on the road for three straight following Monday’s game. The Flyers, meanwhile, are also coming off a win and sit just four points behind Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay concludes a homestand Monday, after which it will head out on the road for a three-game swing through Canada. The Bolts snapped a five-game skid at home Saturday night after earning a 4-1 win over division-rival Carolina in front of a 15th consecutive sellout crowd. They did it in historical fashion too. Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat each scored their first career NHL goals, marking the first time in the 20-year history of the franchise that a pair of Bolts teammates recorded the initial tallies of their career in the same game. Nate Thompson and Teddy Purcell also had goals which helped put Tampa Bay out to a 4-0 lead before Eric Staal spoiled Mathieu Garon’s bid for shutout. Still, Garon was spectacular, making 21 saves to improve to 3-0-0 this season against the Hurricanes.
FLYERS – Philadelphia travels to Tampa Bay to kick off a two-game road trip that sees the team travel to Pittsburgh for a tilt with the Penguins prior to returning home. The Flyers have won two of their past three as they continue to stay in the hunt for the playoffs, entering Monday’s contest just four points out of the Eastern Conference’s final spot. On Friday, Philadelphia pulled out a 2-1 shootout victory over the division-rival New Jersey Devils, thanks to Claude Giroux who netted the game-winner in the tiebreaker after a 1-1 deadlock went into the extra session. Ilya Bryzgalov made 27 saves in the win, as the Flyers snapped a frustrating seven-game losing skid against New Jersey.
Lightning forward Martin St. Louis has points in eight of his past nine games with three goals and 13 points in that span, while Alex Killorn has three points in his past three outings. For Philadelphia, Flyers captain Claude Giroux has collected four points in his past six games.
Flyers defensemen Kurtis Foster, Bruno Gervais and Andrej Meszaros are all former members of the Lightning, as is forward Ruslan Fedotenko. Lightning defenseman Matt Carle spent each of the past four seasons with the Flyers before returning to the Bay Area this past summer. Sean Couturier and Ondrej Palat were former linemates in the QMJHL.
Twitter Stat Pack: The Lightning trail the Flyers by two points in the Eastern Conference standings. Steven Stamkos has recorded a goal against the Flyers in three of his past four meetings. The Lightning have gone 4-0-1 against the Flyers in their last five meetings against them on home ice. Anders Lindback has started both games against the Flyers this season and has only given up three goals on 49 shots for a .939 save percentage. The Lightning have had 21 different goal scorers this season.
“I really started to realize that it's basically just a game I've been playing my whole life. So I've just got to keep doing what got me here and hope that works.” – Tyler Johnson, on his approach to the next game after making his NHL debut earlier this weel
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