The Lightning Insider - Game Day
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The Lightning were right back at it today after last night’s tough 3-2 loss at Carolina. The shame is that Tampa Bay actually played well enough to win the game, but Cam Ward played well and earned the one-goal victory. His save on Evgeny Artyukhin in the third period really changed the dynamic of the game. The Lightning have to get right back on the horse though as they will face a Philadelphia team tonight who is desperate for a win. As Rick Tocchet said this morning, “I don’t think you’ll see a team more ready than [the Flyers] tonight. They are going to be ready. They have lost a few in a row and they don’t usually lose a lot in a row.”
It appears Ryan Craig will most likely sit out while Jussi Jokinen will be a game-time decision. Steven Stamkos will return to the lineup tonight and be reunited on a line with Steve Downie. The pair accounted for a great goal January 19th against Dallas with Downie feeding Stamkos with a behind-the-back pass for an easy goal. Stamkos also assisted on Downie’s goal against Montreal last Tuesday. With secondary scoring at such a premium it will be interesting to see if the chemistry between the two youngsters continues to develop. Downie’s four-game point streak tied his career high and he will attempt to break it tonight.
Even though the Lightning don’t have too many other options at the moment, Mike Smith will make his seventh consecutive start tonight. Smith put a lot of the blame from last night’s loss on himself but has shown the ability to bounce back. Tocchet didn’t nessecarily agree with Smith’s assessment, saying “Would he have loved to have two of those goals back? Yeah. He’s a leader and he put it on himself but I told him he’s the reason we are where we are, to be as close as we are to making a run.” Smith has had some success against the Flyers this season, posting a 2-0-1 record with a 1.98 goals-against average. All signs point to Antero Nittymaki playing opposite Smith for the Flyers.