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NHL on NBCSN: Can Flyers handle Lightning’s overwhelming attack?

Feb 5, 2013, 7:57 AM EDT

Braydon Coburn #5 of the Philadelphia Flyers hits Martin St. Louis #26 of the Tampa Bay Lightning along the boards at the Wells Fargo Center on March 26, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(March 25, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Going into the season, the Philadelphia Flyers’ and Tampa Bay Lightning’s biggest question mark was their goaltending and defense. In the case of Philadelphia, that hasn’t been the major issue so far while the jury is still out on Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Anders Lindback.

And yet, it’s the Lightning that lead their division while the Flyers sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have overwhelmed opponents this season between the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos, well established elite forwards Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, and 23-year-old rookie sensation Cory Conacher. When it comes to their core of forwards this season, everyone on the Lightning has been either meeting or surpassing expectations.

Philadelphia saw that first hand in its 5-1 loss to the Lightning on Jan. 27.

They weren’t able to match them blow-for-blow and a general lack of offense has been an ongoing problem for the Flyers this season. After recording 93 points last season, Claude Giroux has just six points in nine games and that still makes him one of the Flyers’ top contributors. On the Lightning that’d put him in a tie for sixth place with former Flyers defenseman Matt Carle.

The Flyers managed to stop the bleeding on Saturday when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes, but they are still in a 3-6-0 hole. That represents just under 19% of the shortened season gone without much to show for it. They need to get on a winning streak, but the Lightning will not be an easy adversary.

Probable goaltenders: PHI – Ilya Bryzgalov (3-5-0, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV%) | TBL – Anders Lindback (2-1-0, 2.41 GAA, .919 SV%)

Top scorers: PHI – Matt Read (3-4-7, 9 GP) | TBL – Steven Stamkos (7-9-16, 8 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Philadelphia – Forwards: Wayne Simmonds (concussion), Scott Hartnell (foot) Defensemen: Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Chris Pronger (concussion)
Tampa Bay – Defensemen: Brendan Mikkelson (upper body), Mattias Ohlund (knee)

  1. themagicfanguy - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    GO BOLTS!!

  2. xflyersx - Feb 5, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    If the Flyers can come out strong on their home ice I see them winning 4-3, 5-4 etc. If Tampa scores early, forget it.

  3. steelpenbucs87 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    If the Flyguys want to slow down the Lightning it’s going to take a solid defensive game out of the forwards. The Lightning (from what I have seen) have been getting a lot of their goals through crisp and precise passing leading to open nets at good angles. If the Flyers’ forwards put in 100% on the defensive end – staying in their own zone until the job is done and not breaking up ice to try to get rushes on every breakout – I think that gives them the best chance to slow down Stamkos et. al.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      Well said – I think that’s the way we need to play the Isles too. Lots of speed on both teams.

    • boltsfan777 - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      “If the Flyers’ forwards put in 100% on the defensive end – staying in their own zone until the job is done” – like the 1-3-1? :-)

      • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        Might as well – the forwards aren’t really doing any good in the offensive end, anyway :)

        Sorry, Flyers fans…cheap shot.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Haha not exactly what I was referring to (thinking more about purely in their own zone rather than in the neutral zone as well), but yes that kind of a defensive effort.

    • gino97 - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      Flyers have weak goaltending.

      • matthewmacisaac - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:26 PM

        Are you high? that would be the only way to explain such a stupid comment.

  4. drunk4thliners - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    The Flyers are having a difficult time on defense, but I am surprised at the lack of offense. The injury bug has them good, but they need to find some scoring in other places than Giroux. Most teams key on him and the other forwards don’t get the job done.

    • crosberries - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      Isn’t that part of being the top guy is to be keyed in on by the other teams best players and still getting the job done?? That’s the territory that comes with the “C”

  5. gotampabay52 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    seek and destroy go Bolts

  6. broadstbully33 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Control the turnovers or at least contain them. And the passing has to be a lot better. Getting the puck neatly out of the flyers end has been a huge problem. Tape to tape boys.

  7. ckualii - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I suggest Philly stay out of the box tonight. Top PP in the league vs bottom 1/3 PK. I see another runaway victory for Tampa.

  8. flyeredup - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    BJ Crombeen meet Zach Rinaldo.

    • ibieiniid - Feb 5, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO did he ever!?? what a game. GO FLYERS

      had to come back and acknowledge this comment.

  9. broadstbully33 - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Flyers goaltending hasn’t been bad at all this season it’s the defense in front of bryz. Bad turnovers and getting stuck in their own end for long stretches.

    • drunk4thliners - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      While I agree with you, I also think a training camp would’ve helped. Instead, watch for a splash trade to get done or a coaching change. What the Flyers need is patience and execution.

  10. xflyersx - Feb 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    The title of this article made a light bulb go off in my head. Underwhelming is the perfect way to describe the Flyers this season, literally perfect.

  11. mrpigs - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Tampa has such crisp passing, I thought my rangers were lucky to get out of there the other night with 2 points.

  12. kicksave1980 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I’ve watched a lot of both teams so far this season, and you’d have to think Tampa will crush the Flyers. With that said, you also have to think its only a matter of time before the Flyers put it all together. Going to be a good game tonight.

  13. macjacmccoy - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    They need to hit and put pucks on net. That’s what they did in their 3 wins and that’s what they need to do to get their 4th.

  14. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    There were a few factors that contributed to Tampa beating us up in the last matchup. First the Flyers were playing in the second game of a back to back in less than 24 hours. That’s not an excuse but the Flyers have been ill-prepared in those 2nd games. The forwards looked tired which contributed to their lackluster effort backchecking (looking at you Giroux on the Hedman goal). With rest they should come out with energy, although that’s not always the case as they showed against Washington. The second major issue that plagued the Flyers in the last game (and all season) has been taking stupid penalties. The Flyers were doing a relatively good job of slowing down Tampa’s attack before Simmonds got that unexplained unsportsmanlike penalty. That completely changed the complexion of the game. Also the PP was 3-3 against the Canes so I’m hoping to see another game with atleast one PP goal. Finally, and this may have been the biggest issue, the play of Leighton. Now his D didn’t give him much help but there were atleast two goals that Bryz would’ve stopped. He was extremely slow post to post, his rebound control was atrocious, and he was rarely square to the shooter. I was at the game Saturday and Bryz was unbelievable. The Flyers continued to turn the puck over in their (another thing they MUST avoid) and Bryz was a wall. 39 saves and he looked unbeatable. I think just having him back there, with the way he’s playing, gives the team an unbelievable confidence boost. Especially compared to Leighton who is a borderline NHLer, at best. If the Flyers can play controlled hockey and come out flying then they can beat Tampa. If they come out flat and Tampa scores a couple quick then it’s probably over. Keep shooting on the PP!

  15. lsxphotog - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Updated goaltending stats.

    Bryzgalov 3-5-0, 2.40, .920
    Lindback 5-1-0, 2.83, .911

    Both netminders have been decent. Bryzgalov is NOT the problem in Philly, so it’s nice that the fans have shut their mouths on that. Lindback has been actually very solid, but is letting in those freshman goals and bad bounces – in time he will be a force.

    The Flyers will dictate this game and have to take control of it in their own house. If they let Tampa come in and be Tampa, they’re going to get embarrassed once again. The first two lines on Tampa can crush anyone, especially on the man advantage!

  16. mattyo99 - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Tampa is hot right now and the flyers are luke warm to cold, but it won’t last forever for both teams. Flyers got to much talent to just disappear from playoff contention

  17. myopinionisrighterthanyours - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Tampa Bay is 8-1-1 against the Flyers in their last 10. Hopefully that trend continues.

  18. muttbolts - Feb 5, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I like how the goons that call them selves flyers whined about the 1-3-1 last year, then did it in the first game against the bolts this year

  19. muttbolts - Feb 5, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    phillyphanatic77. I was at the game in Tampa, the simmonds penalty was for trying to fight the whole bolts line that was on the ice after the whistle. They might not have showed that on tv. It was the refs way if getting control if the game as it was about to get ugly.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 5, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      He was definitely trying to instigate everyone during that game. And it cost the Flyers. But yeah they didn’t show it or explain very well. Discipline has been a major issue this season. Can’t give Tampa too many PPs.

  20. wisdomnfl - Feb 5, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Flyers are soft

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      Anybody who watches the Flyers knows that’s hardly an issue. In fact they’ve been overly aggressive, as evidenced by their numerous penalties (including plenty of fighting majors).

  21. Woody Bass - Feb 5, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Hope not! Gooooooo Bolts!!!

  22. Woody Bass - Feb 5, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Reblogged this on Woody Bass.

  23. jnvrmind - Feb 5, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    I have to think getting D.Briere back is just the spark the Flyers need to kick it into gear. I think they still miss the tough leadership of Pronger but hard to argue with the blue line play of Timonen. And for once Bryzgalov can’t really be blamed for Philly’s problems.Anyhow I think the Flyers are getting ready to go.

    • matthewmacisaac - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      I hope you’re right.

  24. matthewmacisaac - Feb 5, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    ” Can the Flyers handle the Lightnings overwhelming attack?” In a word -YES. The Flyers need to play good team defense and stay out of the box. Coburn has taken at least 1 stupid penalty a game (tonight he took two) Holding the stick and cross-checking penalties looked almost as if he was trying to see how much he could get away with ( and by now he should realize he’s not getting away with the blatant ones, maybe try not being so obvious). To “hockeywithdrawal” that was a cheapshot but you do get points for funny (and all jokes are based on some bit of truth). You did get a laugh out of this Flyers fan.

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