Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-6-1); Philadelphia (2-7-1)
Season Series: This is the second of four meetings this season between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. The Lightning traveled to the Wachovia Center on Nov. 2 and fell to the Flyers, 6-2. The two clubs will meet again on Jan. 9 in Philadelphia and will round out the season series in Tampa on Mar. 2.
The Big Story: The Bolts’ offense has come around lately, evidenced by the team’s 10 goals in its previous two contests. It has been the big names getting it done for Tampa Bay with Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone leading the charge, with each recording at least two points apiece in those games. Points are coming from every direction as well as defenseman Kurtis Foster has been one of the team’s top point producers in recent games. In his last five contests, Foster has five points, including two goals with one on the power play.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts play at home tonight for the first time in two weeks after finishing off a six-game road trip, their longest of the season. The team has won two consecutive games, coming off a 6-3 win at St. Louis on Friday and a 4-2 win on Monday versus the Islanders. The team is confident that it is still in the hunt for a playoff spot in April, entering tonight just four points behind the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. Heavy scoring has provided a lot of momentum for the team, who will look to continue the winning trend this week and through the New Year at the St. Pete Times Forum. In their last seven wins, Tampa Bay has scored at least four times. Goaltender Mike Smith has posted a .956 save percentage in all games this year in which the Lightning have scored four or more goals at home.
FLYERS – Tonight’s contest is the first of a six-game road trip for Philadelphia that wraps up at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa just two days after facing off against the Boston Bruins in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The Flyers come in having lost four in a row, partially caused by being held to one goal or less in eight of its last 12 games. They look to improve their record on the road as well, entering the St. Pete Times Forum tonight with a 6-9-0 record away from the Wachovia Center this season. Head Coach Peter Laviolette posts a 2-7-1 mark since taking over behind the bench for John Stevens, following a 4-1 home loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday. Philadelphia has, however, taken two of the last three from the Lightning in Tampa.
Who’s Hot: - Ryan Malone has tallied six points in his last two games, coming off a performance on Monday against the Islanders in which he tied a career high four points (2-2-4).
- Martin St. Louis has totaled five points in his last two, while Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos come in with four points apiece in their last two as well.
- Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger has recorded two points in as many contests.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Matt Walker (lower body, day-to-day); FLYERS – Ray Emery (abdominals, out five weeks), Darroll Power (shoulder, day-to-day) and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (missed last four games, day-to-day).
Quotable: “I really think it’s about confidence now. We know that if we stick to the game plan we can play with anyone.” – Ryan Malone
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