Season Series: This is the third of four meetings this season between the Lightning and Flyers. The clubs split the first two matchups with the home team winning once each in its own arena. The season series wraps up with the final contest set for Mar. 26 at the Wells Fargo Center in the Philadelphia.
The Big Story: The Lightning return to the St. Pete Times Forum to play in front of the home crowd for the first time in nearly two weeks as they kick off a three-game home stand. With at least a point in three of the past four games, Tampa Bay is hoping the support from the home fans is all it needs to keep the successful stretch going as it looks to climb out of the bottom third of the Eastern Conference standings.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts appear in their first game at home since earning a 2-1 victory in overtime against Calgary back on Dec. 15. Tampa Bay nearly returned to the Bay Area with two points heading into the Christmas holiday, but came back with just one instead following a hard-fought 2-1 overtime loss to Colorado on Friday. Pavel Kubina snapped a 21-game goal-less drought with the game’s opening tally, but the Avalanche scored twice unanswered with Ryan O’Reilly’s game-tying goal in the second period and Matt Duchene’s game-winner 3:38 into extra frames. Despite receiving the loss, Mathieu Garon gave a solid effort that was characterized by 27 saves, including several key stops down the stretch and in overtime that allowed the Lightning to return home for the holidays all but empty-handed.
FLYERS – Philadelphia is close to concluding a five-game road trip, as it plays in the fourth straight contest away from home Tuesday night against the Lightning before wrapping up the stretch with a matchup against cross-state division-rival Pittsburgh two nights later. The Flyers, despite losing three of their past four games, still remain one spot removed from the top position in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. It nearly headed into the Christmas break riding a two-game win streak, but instead dropped the final contest before the holiday, falling 4-2 to the Rangers in a preview of the New Year’s Day Winter Classic. Philadelphia found itself down three goals heading into the final 20 minutes, rallied back to get two in the back of the net in the third period, but couldn’t complete the comeback after an insurance goal by Ryan Callahan sealed the Flyers’ fate and pulled New York into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division standings.
Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay’s Eric Brewer has points in three of his past four games with a goal and an assist in that span, while Martin St. Louis has points in two straight since returning to action from injury last week. Dominic Moore has also marked the score sheet in five of his past seven games for the Bolts. For Philadelphia, Claude Giroux has three goals and nine assists in his past six games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Matt Gilroy (lower body, day-to-day), Nate Thompson (lower body, day-to-day) and Ryan Shannon (lower body, out 2-4 weeks). FLYERS – Sean Couturier (concussion), Brayden Schenn (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion, out for season), Andreas Lilja (ankle) and Erik Gustafsson (wrist).
Notable Quotable: “Yes, 21 games on the road and all these injuries, there's been so much adversity. Yes, we do have to capitalize on those home games. You can always gain momentum (at home). The problem is we have injuries. We need our guys back and to be able to sustain the type of intensity and consistency you need to get momentum.” – Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, on returning home to open a three-game set at the St. Pete Times Forum
Connections: Lightning forward Steve Downie skated in 38 career games with Philadelphia between 2007 and 2008 before being traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for current Flyers defenseman Matt Carle. Another Flyers defenseman, Andrej Meszaros, also spent two seasons with the Lightning including 2008-09 and 2009-10, recording 33 points in 133 games. Lightning assistant Dan Lacroix is a one-time Flyer, as is Lightning television color analyst Bobby "The Chief" Taylor.
tampabaylightning.com is the official Web site of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay Lightning and tampabaylightning.com are trademarks of Lightning Hockey L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Lightning Hockey, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.