After 10 days of hotel food and five games on the road, the Tampa Bay Lightning return home tonight to host the Philadelphia Flyers at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The Lightning bring a winning road trip record of 3-2-0 back with them from a challenging western road swing, boasting wins over the Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
Tonight’s contest is the third of four meetings between Tampa Bay and the Flyers this season, but the first at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Lightning have earned a point in every game against Philadelphia this season, going 1-0-1.
The Lightning (13-20-10) are led by Martin St. Louis, with a team-high 41 points, and Vincent Lecavalier, with the team-lead in goals scored with 17. Vaclav Prospal, a former Flyer, leads the Lightning with two goals and three points against Philadelphia this season.
The Flyers (23-11-9) trail the New York Rangers by only one point for the lead in the highly competitive Atlantic Division. Philadelphia is coming off a home defeat on Tuesday, losing to cross-state rival Pittsburgh, 4-2.
Centerman Jeff Carter is tied for the NHL lead in goals with 29 and Mike Richards leads the Flyers with assists with 28. The potent Flyer offense boasts six skaters with 14 or more goals on the season.
With that kind of scoring power, it’s no surprise that Philadelphia’s power play ranks second in the NHL with a 26.7 % success rate. The Flyers, behind Simon Gagne, Richards and Carter, each tied with an NHL-best four, also lead the league in shorthanded goals with 13.
Tonight’s game marks the first of five consecutive home games for the Lightning. Overall, 13 of the next 17 games for Tampa Bay will be at home.