Flyers (24-16-8, 56 PTS) vs Lightning (33-12-3, 69 PTS)
PREVIOUS MEETING: 12/29/2017, PHI 5 @ TBL 3
Philadelphia returns home after a successful quick two game road trip, and they welcome the current President Trophy leaders the Tampa Bay Lightning in their final game before the 2018 All Star Break. The Flyers are coming of their second consecutive overtime win, as they were victorious over the Red Wings in Detroit with Travis Konecny scoring the game winner once again.
Tampa Bay is coming off an overtime win of their own, as they defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3. Captain Steven Stamkos tied the game late in the 3rd before Yanni Gourde potted the game winner in the 3-on-3 period.
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RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
PUCK DROP: 7:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
Looking for their fifth straight win as they head into the All Star break, it make sense for Coach Dave Hakstol to just roll the same lines as he did in the previous game. Rookie Tyrell Goulbourne continues to play in front of Taylor Leier, despite averaging 3:25 TOI during his seven games as Flyer.
Giroux – Couturier – Konecny
Raffl – Filppula – Voracek
Weal – Patrick – Simmonds
Goulburne – Laughton – Lehtera
Provorov – Gostisbehere
Hagg – MacDonald
Manning – Gudas
Michal Neuvirth gets the nod in goal tonight for the Flyers, as he’s played considerably well in his past few starts with 3 wins in his last 3 starts. In his last 199:43, he’s given up only 4 goals. For his career against the Lightning, he holds a record of 4-2-0 with a 2.71 GAA and a .920 SV%.
Tampa Bay: Lightning Line Combinations
Coming off an overtime win of their own, it’d be odd to see any changes from the league leaders. Tampa is a stacked team from top to bottom, as they lead the NHL with the most All Star selections. Star defenseman Victor Hedman and forward Ondrej Palat are both out for the foreseeable future for the Lightning as they are each dealing with lower body injuries.
Kucherov – Point – Johnson
Namestnikov – Stamkos – Kunitz
Killorn – Peca – Gourde
Bournival – Paquette – Callahan
Dotchin – Stralman
Coburn – Sustr
Koekkoek – Girardi
Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to get the nod from Lightning coach Jon Cooper. The Russian goaltender is 2-3-0 in his last five starts, and against the Flyers he holds a career record of 3-2-0, with a 1.98 GAA and a .943 SV%.
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
Travis Konecny has had a hand in the overtime winner for the Flyers in the 3 of the past 4 games. He assisted on Sean Couturier’s winner against Toronto a week ago, and against Washington and Detroit he took matters into his own hands. Each goal has occurred on the first shift of overtime, and the combination of Couturier and Konecny seems to really be paying off for the Flyers. It’s extremely rewarding to see the second year player find the back of the net more often this season. His promotion to the first line seems to really have sparked #11.
In the first meeting between Philadelphia and the Lightning, Jon Cooper looked to match up his all star captain Steven Stamkos against Flyers rookie Nolan Patrick. Now with the Flyers being the home team, it will be interesting to see how Coach Hakstol goes about handling different matchups against the NHL’s best team. Having last change can certainly make or break how this game could fall.
Nikita Kucherov leads the league in points with 61, and his teammate Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins with 28. It’s easy to see why the Lightning have had so much success in the first half of the season with all the fire power they hold across their lineup. Stopping this team will be a big test for Philadelphia as they look to improve their playoff hopes.