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Lightning at Flyers Preview: Buckling down

The Lightning and Flyers both look to gain some much-needed points in this Eastern Conference matchup.

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

Tampa Bay Lightning (19-17-4) at Philadelphia Flyers (20-15-5) Game 40

Time: 1:00 pm EST

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA

Broadcast/Streaming: Sun,

Opponent SB Nation Site: Broad Street Hockey

Preview

The season has almost reached the halfway point, and many expectations have been undermined. The Bolts sit four points out of the playoffs and at times have been totally lackluster. Some players seem disenfranchised and others have underproduced. Injuries have been a major issue. Could missing the playoffs be beneficial so players could get some rest time? The goal is always to win the Cup, but at what point do you cut your losses and attempt to use the off-season as much needed recovery time?

There is a bright side to all of the Bolts mishaps. Watching the Bolts’ young guns has truly been enjoyable this season. Whether it was seeing Adam Wilcox dressed for the game against the Predators, or watching Matthew Peca record his first NHL goal, both are great moments for the franchise even though they have been shadowed by the team’s poor performance this year. With the defense flailing and losses piling up, many look to Steve Yzerman to make a move to bolster the Bolts blue line (say that five times fast) yet there may be more team issues than just the player personnel.

So here are some loose comparisons. Philadelphia and Tampa Bay both sit fifth in their divisions. Both teams’ power plays sit within top ten in the league. The Flyers have lost five in a row. The Bolts have lost two in a row. Both teams desperately need some points in order to stay in contention for the playoffs. And both teams need a win for some team morale.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will look to have a rebound game after some poor starts over the last week. It seems the defense (or lack thereof) and the pressure of being the number one guy in net are affecting his play. Vasy deserves a good game regardless of the outcome. Let’s hope the team is able to produce defensively and finally give the young goaltender some help.

Preview Chart

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Jonathan Drouin - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan

Matthew Peca - Vladislav Namestnikov - Alex Killorn

Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - JT Brown

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Slater Koekkoek

Nikita Nesterov

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Adam Wilcox

Philadelphia Flyers

Forwards

Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Travis Konecny - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov

Defense Pairings

Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Brandon Manning - Shayne Gostisbehere

Goalies

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth