After playing maybe their worst game of 2018, the Philadelphia Flyers will look to get back on track against the best team in the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning, at 1 p.m. this afternoon.
The Flyers last played Thursday, in a discombobulated effort against the Carolina Hurricanes where the team lost 4-1; the first time it didn’t earn a point in a game since Feb. 1.
The Lightning have been cruising of late also, with five wins in their last six games after a so-so January.
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Line Combinations: Courtesy of Daily Faceoff
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
The Flyers had an optional skate Friday, so it’s hard to tell if any lineup changes will be made. It was pretty obvious they need some, though. Jordan Weal was a healthy scratch to try and reset after weeks of low offensive production Thursday. But his replacement, Taylor Leier, and the fourth line had rough nights against the Hurricanes. With a back-and-back starting Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Petr Mrazek gets both starts or just one.
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom – Nolan Patrick – Jake Voracek
Taylor Leier – Scott Laughton – Michael Raffl
Jori Lehtera – Valtteri Filppula – Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg – Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Tampa Bay: Lightning Line Combinations
The Lightning are loaded for a Stanley Cup run, but the Flyers could be meeting them at a good time. Ryan McDonagh is injured and top-scorer Nikita Kucherov has missed the past two games with an injury, but is questionable for today’s match. That doesn’t mean the team isn’t dangerous, though. Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point have a combined 127 points on the first line and Yanni Gourde is a rookie of the year candidate.
Alex Killorn – Brayden Point – Steven Stamkos
Cory Conacher – Yanni Gourde – Adam Erne
Chris Kunitz – Tyler Johnson – J.T. Miller
Anthony Cirelli – Cedric Pacquette – Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman – Anton Stralman
Mikhail Sergachev – Dan Girardi
Braydon Coburn – Andrej Sustr
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
Thursday’s game was a true clunker for the Flyers after a month of great play. The last thing this team needs with playoffs on the horizon is for the month of February to turn out to be just a fluke. Playing a strong game against the best team in the league can help prove that what the team did last month is the real deal.
Although the Hurricanes loss can’t be blamed on Petr Mrazek, it was the first game in a Flyers uniform where wasn’t able to help earn or steal a win for the team. Of course, no goalie looks like that every night, but against the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy, Mrazek will need to be at his best to hold off Tampa’s potent offense and out-duel the opposing netminder.
Steven Stamkos is a tough customer to play against on any night, but against Philadelphia, he’s even worse. The 28 year old has scored 19 goals and 30 points against the Flyers in 28 games. He may not play with usual linemate Nikita Kucherov today, but Stamkos can still find the back of the net.