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The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off one of their worst losses in franchise history. Despite a roster shake-up, things may not get much better immediately.
Philadelphia will try to avoid its ninth straight loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning when the teams meet Thursday at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The Flyers (1-4-1) have been outscored 39-15 in their last eight games against Tampa Bay since Dec. 18, 2003. It's not just the Lightning, though, Philadelphia has struggled against.
Philadelphia outshot Buffalo on Tuesday, but tied a franchise record by allowing six second-period goals in a 9-1 loss to the Sabres - the Flyers' most lopsided defeat since an 8-0 loss to Dallas on Jan. 6, 1994.
"It's totally embarrassing," said Flyers captain Peter Forsberg, who has 10 goals and six assists in 15 career games against the Lightning. "It's not one or two guys, it's the whole team."
On Wednesday, the Flyers made three roster moves, waiving 15-year veteran center Petr Nedved, left wing Niko Dimitrakos and defenseman Nolan Baumgartner. Nedved and Dimitrakos both were scoreless this season while Baumgartner had one assist.
To replace the trio, right wing Stefan Ruzicka, defenseman Alexandre Picard and left wing Ben Eager were recalled from Philadelphia of the AHL. Ruzicka led the Phantoms with five goals and nine points in four games.
Jeff Carter scored the lone goal in the Flyers' third straight loss overall, and believes they can bounce back.
"I don't think we'll self-destruct," he said. "We did all of the self-destructing (Tuesday). Hopefully, this is rock bottom."
After Robert Esche allowed all nine goals, the Flyers likely will start Antero Niittymaki despite struggling in his only career start against the Lightning when he stopped just 24 of 30 shots in a 6-0 loss on Jan. 28. Niittymaki is 1-2-1 with a 2.72 goals-against average this season.
Tampa Bay (2-4-0) lost for the fourth time in five games after falling to Carolina 5-1 on Monday. Nikita Alexeev's goal with 2:13 to play helped the Lightning avoid being shut out for the second time this season. They were shut out just twice in 2005-06.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," said right wing Martin St. Louis, who had four assists in three games last season against the Flyers. "We've got to keep going."
Lightning goaltender Marc Denis was replaced by rookie Johan Holmqvist after allowing four goals on 19 shots. Denis, acquired from Columbus in off-season and given the starting job in net, is 2-3 with a 2.35 GAA for Tampa Bay this season.
He has three losses, a tie and a 3.13 GAA in four career starts versus the Flyers.
Brad Richards led Tampa Bay with 91 points last season, but has gotten off to a slow start with only two assists so far. He tallied a point in all four games against Philadelphia last season, totaling two goals and three assists.
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