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Lightning at Flyers Preview: Hi, it’s me, I’m the problem

Jan 23, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates with teammates against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Game #61 – Tampa Bay Lightning at Philadelphia Flyers
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, ESPN+, Hulu

Opponent’s Site: Broad Street Hockey


It’s really amazing how the wins pile up for the Lightning when they’re not shooting themselves in the foot, isn’t it? When Coach Jon Cooper was asked about what was working for them on the road trip following their win over the Devils, part of his answer was,

“We’re just playing the right way. We’re not cheating for offense. We’re not beating ourselves. That’s something we’ve done, especially on that home stand – we beat ourselves. The guys have made a conscious effort to make sure that’s not happening.”

As much as they frustrate us on a game-by-game basis, the Tampa Bay Lightning are still a top team in the NHL. Are they an elite team? Maybe not quite, but on any given day they can beat any team in this league. Their biggest setback for most of the season has been themselves. Whether it’s turnovers at either bluelines, the inability to clear pucks when they have the chance, or poor defensive coverage, when the Lightning struggle, it’s usually their own fault.

There are probably just a handful of games among their 23 losses where they were blown off of the ice by another team’s talent (The Florida one being at the top of the list). What’s been uber-frustrating has been that every time they seem to be emerging from the funk, they either slide back into their careless ways, or they have a long break and they restart from step one. Oh look, there is a stretch of 10 off-days in two weeks coming up. Yay!

Now is not the time to look ahead, though. They match up against another team that is hovering around the same area in the standings. Although the Flyers are in the third spot of the Metro right now, Washington is lurking with a couple of games in hand. So, it would be nice if the Lightning can finish this road trip with a tidy 3-0 record to help put some distance in the standings with this team as well.

The improved responsibility and solid goaltending we’ve seen on the trip so far will help against a young Flyers team that is probably playing a bit about their heads right now. Once again, a young team that is buying into John Tortorella’s game plan is overachieving. They did suffer some bad news as their newly acquired defenseman, Jamie Drysdale, will miss a few games with an upper-body injury.

They’re also coming off of a pair of losses, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Rangers followed by a 7-6 affair that saw the Penguins grab the win. They’ll be hungry to right the ship and avenge their 6-3 loss to the Bolts earlier in the season. Scott Laughton is leading the way offensively with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) during his seven-game point streak.

Goaltending has been a bit of an issue for the Flyers. With Carter Hart not playing, Cal Petersen and Sam Ersson have been between the pipes with Ersson getting the bulk of the play. In 16 games on home ice this season, the rookie has a 7-7-1 record with a 2.82 GAA and .886 SV%. Not great, but it’ll be a tall task against the Lightning offense.

As usual, it’s Nikita Kucherov running things offensively for the Lightning as he’s put up 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 10 games this month and is on a three-game point streak with 2 goals and 6 assists over that streak. The longest current point streak for the Lightning belongs to Brandon Hagel. He’s picked up a point in 13 straight contests with 9 goals and 11 assists over the stretch which dates back to January 23.

It also looks like Nick Paul is warming back up as he’s scored goals in two of the last three games. If he can keep tossing the puck into the net over the next 20 games it will be a big help down the stretch for the Bolts.

It looks like the Lightning will go with an 11/7 rotation for the third game in a row. Tanner Jeannot and Haydn Fleury were on the ice for warm-ups, but Coach Cooper might not want to mess with the roster at this point considering how the team has played against the Islanders and Devils.

If the Lightning can stay out of their own way, they can pick up another two points and level their record on the road for the first time all season. They can stop being their own problem and start causing some problems for other teams.

Stats Match-up

Game #61Tampa Bay LightningPhiladelphia Flyers
Overall Record32-23-530-22-7
Home Record18-8-314-13-2
Road Record14-15-216-9-5
Goals For204173
Goals Against201173
Power Play29.3%13.2%
Penalty Kill80.4%86.1%
Last 10 Games5-5-05-4-1
Stats via NHL and Natural Stat Trick


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Brandon Hagel – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Mikey Eyssimont – Anthony Cirelli – Mitchell Chaffee
Steven Stamkos – Nick Paul – Conor Sheary

Luke Glendening – Tyler Motte

Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh
Calvin de Haan – Erik Cernak
Emil Lilleberg – Nick Perbix

Max Crozier

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jonas Johansson

Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lines

Joel Farabee – Morgan Frost – Bobby Brink

Noah Cates – Ryan Poehling – Garent Hathaway

Owen Tippett – Scott Laughton – Cam Atkinson

Tyson Forester – Sean Couturier – Olle Lycksell

Cam York – Travis Sanheim

Nick Seeler – Sean Walker

Marc Staal – Egor Zamula


Samuel Ersson

Cal Petersen

The Playoff Race

Atlantic DivisionGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Boston Bruins6034-12-148222
Florida Panthers5838-16-48024
Toronto Maple Leafs5733-16-87425
Wild CardGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Detroit Red Wings5832-20-67024
Washington Capitals5727-21-96325
Top 3 teams in the Atlantic make the playoffs, top two wild card teams also make the playoffs
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