Lightning vs. Flyers Preview
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to rebound from their first regulation loss in three weeks, and returning home may appear to be just what they need to do that.
A visit from the Steve Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning may prove otherwise.
The Flyers look to extend their winning streak at Wells Fargo Center to eight as they face the Lightning on Thursday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flyers –210 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Lightning. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 78% of more than 363 bets for this game have been placed on the Lightning +192.
Philadelphia (12-5-2) went 10 games (9-0-1) without losing in regulation before falling 3-0 at Montreal on Tuesday. The Flyers outshot the Canadiens 41-28, but were still shut out for the first time.
Returning home, where they have a seven-game winning streak, would seem like a good chance to rebound. However, Philadelphia lost 3-2 to Tampa Bay (9-7-2) in the most recent meeting there Oct. 14.
"I think everybody is frustrated and disappointed with the loss (Tuesday)," coach Peter Laviolette told the team's official website. "But we have this game coming up against Tampa Bay and we didn't have the success we were looking for against them last time.
"Again, I haven't seen any of the players to deliver any messages, but I think we should focus more on Tampa Bay, seeing as they took points out of our building."
Philadelphia is 8-3-0 at home, and has outscored opponents 34-12 during its longest winning streak there since an eight-game run from Dec. 9, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009.
Stamkos may play a part in keeping the Flyers from matching that feat. The center netted a goal and assisted on Brett Clark's to end the Lightning's five-game road losing streak with a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
"We played with a lot of desperation," said Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 16 goals and 30 points.
Stamkos has been red-hot of late, totaling six goals and four assists during a six-game points streak. He's been held without a point in just two games, and could be in for a rigid test if the Flyers give Sergei Bobrovsky a 12th consecutive start.
The rookie goaltender is 9-1-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average in the last 11 games after making 25 saves Tuesday. He didn't face Tampa Bay last month, when Philadelphia opted for Brian Boucher, who made 21 saves and is 1-2-1 with a 2.26 GAA.
Bobrovsky has been a revelation thus far, tying for the league high in wins (11) while ranking among the leaders with a 2.07 GAA, and .932 save percentage.
The Lightning's goaltending situation isn't as clear.
Dan Ellis may get a third straight start after making 34 saves Wednesday. He wasn't nearly as sharp in his previous two games, losing both while giving up eight goals on 42 shots.
Ellis beat the Flyers on Oct. 14, making 24 stops.
Mike Smith is 0-3-0 with a 6.49 GAA in his last four games - three starts - against Philadelphia. He hasn't been much better in his last four starts overall, going 0-3-0 with a 4.39 GAA while getting pulled once.