WHERE: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WHEN: 7PM EST
MEDIA: Sun Sports (cable - Florida), NHL Network (cable - national only)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Broad Street Hockey
Last night's win by the Lightning over the New York Islanders has had a cause-and-effect reaction. Mattias Ritola's hit on Matt Moulson has resulted in a two game suspension by the league. As a result of that, the Lightning have made a pair of recalls from the Norfolk Admirals on Thursday morning: Mathieu Roy and Killer himself, James Wright.
The one thing that is not changing is that the Bolts square off against a very hot Flyers team tonight. The Flyers have 26 points in 19 games this season. The Bolts are at 20 after 18.
Speaking of points, at the 18 game mark last season the Lightning were actually at 22 points for the season. While this team is night and day better than last season's squad,
One thing that has not changed since last season is questions of goaltending for the Bolts. As of this writing there still hasn't been a confirmation who starts in net tonight - which seems odd in that Dan Ellis started last night and faced 36 shots. It's an assumption that Mike Smith will be the man in net tonight because of that...
Yet Mike Corcoran and Jon Jordan, two of the beat-writer quality guys who cover the Lightning regularly, both believe that Ellis should be the starter tonight. Mike has no problem with back-to-back starts, while Jordan thinks Smith should have started last night in Uniondale and Ellis would start tonight against the Flyers.
What to take form this is, confidence in Smith remains non-existent.
Steven Stamkos remains the league leader with 30 points on the season (16 goals and 14 assists). Martin St. Louis is tied for 11th with four others. He has 21 points (8 goals and 13 assists). One of those four others is Claude Giroux of the Flyers (10 goals and 11 assists). Mike Richards is also in the top 25 in the league in scoring with 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists).
Philadelphia's power play percentage is 20.2%, good for 10th in the NHL. The Lightning improved their power play percentage last night to 24.4 and improved to 4th in the league.The Flyers are 7th in the league on the penalty kill with a 85.9 kill rate. The Bolts are tied for third in the league, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, with an 88.2 kill rate.
One last note: Don't forget tonight's watch party in Downtown Tampa at Champions Sports Bar at the Marriott Waterside Hotel.