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Tampa Bay Lightning at Philadelphia Flyers Preview

Journey from the league’s worst points for total to the league’s worst points against.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lightning at Flyers: Game 19

Time: 1 p.m. Eastern time

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Broadcasting/Streaming: CSN-PH, SUN

Opponent SBNation Site: Broad Street Hockey

Preview:

The Tampa Bay Lightning are almost a quarter of the way through the season and there is an underlying sense shared within the fan-base that the situation the Bolts are in is all too familiar. Team Captain Steven Stamkos will be out for the majority of the season (if not all) and will look to rehab his right knee successfully in time for the playoffs.

In their first game without Stamkos, the Bolts were able to muster a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres. The Lightning put together a fast start (which they have struggled to do this season) and finished the first frame a goal up. Although it wasn’t the most complete game we have seen by the squad, the team was able to gather a win thanks to strong goaltending from Ben Bishop and goals scored by Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Nesterov.

The outcome for this game is important for this reason. Tampa Bay needs everyone to play to their full potential going forward. Kucherov must continue his goal0scoring ways, Valtteri Filppula must be a playmaker, and Point needs to continue growing and getting comfortable with the speed of the NHL. Killorn has had some flashes of brilliance early season, however went through a pointless streak. He ended his 10 game goal drought with one against Buffalo.

After a disappointing, injury-plagued year, Tyler Johnson looks to bounce back this season. Now finally healthy, the team hopes to see him return to his production of the 2014-2015 season. TJ’s most productive season saw him finish with 72 points, with 19 points in the first 18 games. This season he only has 10 points through that same time. Could we see a resurgence of the Triplets? One can only hope.

What the Bolts need to do to get a win

The Lightning went from playing the team with the league’s worst “points for” total (Buffalo) to playing the team with the league’s worst points against (Flyers). Are different game plans required? Maybe. But expect a plan similar to the style we often see the Bolts execute in the playoffs. Defend first. Act on scoring chances second. Since the Flyers are currently riding high with their offense, Tampa Bay will look to eliminate possession and defend strong against team points leader Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, and Jakub Voracek.

The Flyers seem to be having goalie issues, and with last year’s Calder Memorial Trophy finalist Shayne Ghostisbehere being a healthy scratch before last Thursday’s win against the Jets, there might be something amiss in Philly. Continually, the seven Flyers that reside in double-digit point totals all have at least a -3 for plus-minus ratings. Odd.

The Flyers currently sit 5th in the Metropolitan division with 19 points (8-7-3) and will look to close the gap between them and the first place Rangers (2nd in the eastern conference) with 26 points.

Looking Forward

The Lightning are 10-0 when they are able to put up at least four goals. Continually, the Bolts are 0-6 when they are only able to put up one or fewer. So it seems 4 is the magic number. And we are retiring jersey #4 for Vinny Lecavalier this year! Oh wait... never mind. We are retiring that other number...

Obviously if you only put up one goal in a game the outcome isn’t likely going to be a win but it seems that when the offense is on, it’s on. And when it’s not, it’s not. The Lightning will continue to strive for consistency and with Stamkos out of the lineup, the Bolts will need to rely on special teams and key role players more than ever.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Vladislav Namestnikov - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point

Jonathan Drouin - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan

Cedric Paquette - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown

Defensive Pairings

Victor Hedman - Andrej Sustr

Jason Garrison - Nikita Nesterov

Slater Koekkoek - Braydon Coburn

Goaltenders

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Philadelphia lineup

Forward Lines

Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Meat Read

Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise

Defensive Pairings

Michael Del Zotto - Andrew MacDonald

Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Goaltenders

Steve Mason

Anthony Stolarz

Lines will be updated throughout the day