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NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Lightning battle to get back in playoff hunt

Mar 18, 2013, 7:57 AM EDT

Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers and B.J. Crombeen #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fight in the first period on February 5, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(February 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

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

Philadelphia might not meet goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov‘s definition of done after its 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday, but the team is still on the edge.

The Flyers are in 11th place right now and four points out of a playoff spot, but they’ve also played in two more games than the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes.

After tonight’s contest, the Flyers will take a five day break to prepare for the stretch run. During that time, they’ll watch the gap between them and the eighth seed grow, so picking up another two points before that happens could be huge mentally.

“I think any time you’ve got a break coming up, you always want to end on a win,” Scott Hartnell said in a CSN Philly report. “It makes practices a lot easier. Makes the media a lot easier, to answer questions about what we could have done better, you’re leaving on a high.

“We’ll welcome the rest when it comes, but we’ve got one good day of work ahead of us.”

Of course, the Tampa Bay Lightning are equally, if not more, desperate going into this match.

The Lightning sit in 12th place and are just two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers. Tampa Bay’s disastrous play has put head coach Guy Boucher’s leadership into question and might led to the trade of Martin St. Louis.

Tampa Bay managed to beat Carolina on Saturday, but they still look vulnerable. They lost their last meeting against the Flyers, are 3-7-0 in their last 10 contests, and will be without the services of their captain, Vincent Lecavalier.

At the same time, the Flyers have had a lot of trouble building any sort of momentum this season, so it wouldn’t be out of character for them to stumble after their 2-1 shootout victory over the Devils.

“If you look at the standings, the way we’ve been going, we win one game and maybe lose one or two after that,” Kimmo Timonen said, who will be playing in his 1000th game on his 38th birthday. “That’s not going to work out. We’ve got to start putting some wins together, and that means three or four games together and go from there.

“But the bottom line is, we need wins.”

That’s something both teams can say.

Probable goaltenders: PHI – Bryzgalov (13-12-1, 2.78 GAA, .899 SV%) | TBL – Anders Lindback (9-7-1, 2.93 GAA, .902 SV%)

Top scorers: PHI – Jakub Voracek (13-18-31, 29 GP) | TBL – Steven Stamkos (20-18-38, 28 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Philadelphia – Forwards: Jody Shelley (hip) Defensemen: Chris Pronger (concussion), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion)
Tampa Bay Lightning – Forwards: Vincent Lecavalier (lower body), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder) Defensemen: Mattias Ohlund (knee)

  1. boltsfan777 - Mar 18, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    As far as the standings, it’s a meaningless game, but I’ll tune in mainly to watch the Bolts rookies put on a show, especially Radko Gudas. Did anyone see him finish that great open ice hip check while skating backwards during the Islanders game?

    • ibieiniid - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      i brought up Gudas last week. that guy is a monster. i wish i could find video of this DEVASTATING check he threw last year in the Calder playoffs in Norfolk. i was sad to see him (and the whole team) leave the area I’m from and go to NY. i think I miss his hitting the most though.

      but ya this isn’t a meaningless game at all.

      • boltsfan777 - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        I can maybe see Philly sneaking into the playoffs, but unless one of the team’s goalies gets hot, it’s hard to imagine either team getting past the first round. I see Philly as the tougher team, not just physically, who can maybe beat a more skilled team just by getting into their heads, like the Flyers/Pens playoff last year.

        I’d like to see the Bolts rookies continue to get more ice time. They’re hungrier than the veterans and more willing to shoot (St. Louis, Stamkos, and Hedman aside) instead of trying to be a pretty team. Teddy Purcell, shoot the puck; your wrist shot is awesome.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        boltsfan777, I agree with you It’s a meaningless game from the standings perspective. Neither of these teams will make the playoffs. Looking forward to seeing “Gudas the beast” throw his weight around.

      • boltsfan777 - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        When you get on these Philly threads, it doesn’t matter what you say or how objective you are, you get a thumbs down. I guess it’s like when they booed Santa Claus. :-) That’s okay, bring it on. There’s still part of me that likes the Flyers game and the way they bring it.

  2. capsfan19 - Mar 18, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Ha go flyers! Dont give the bolts any points!

  3. yvrmike - Mar 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    What it seams like to me is that when Linebacker or Bryzgalov let in a bad goal, the team goes flat afterwards. Wonder if they had a Luongo in the line up how much better both teams would be. The defense would know that they have the best goalie in net, and feel a lot more confident with there first pass out of there zone. But who would they have to give up. For those of you that think very little, it’s wishful thinking.

  4. mclovinhockey - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Battling to keep playoff hopes alive usually is fun to watch. Should be good. Doubt lavy makes the team sit back while the bolts do the trap this time. That was pretty funny

    • boltsfan777 - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      The Flyers used the trap briefly last game. Nobody was outraged about that.

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Couldn’t the schedule makers have spread out these five days off through the first month of the season? I mean it seemed like the Flyers played everyday (and they basically did) for the first six weeks, now, all of a sudden, they have a week off. How does it make any sense? The Flyers performance wasn’t good this season, and they killed themselves with the 2-6 start, but the schedule did them no favors, whatsoever.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Hawks basically ruined the “we were tired” excuse for everyone. They played 10 of their first 12 games on the road and registered 6 (12) back to backs before they lost out on a point. And they had to cross timezones which eastern teams (aside from Winnipeg ) don’t do. They had 2 of the harder schedules in the league during the first half, but the fact each had such different outcomes proves that regardless of your schedule, if you have a winning roster you will win games.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      A quick glance of the schedule shows that the Pens and Flyers played the same amount of games for the first six weeks. So, one can’t blame the schedule. Every team had to play a lot of games in this shortened season. Detroit has won cups while having the worst travel schedule being in the e time zone while in the w conference. So, no sympathy for the flyers.

  6. philly4lyfe - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    rule# 76: no excuses, play line a champion.

  7. zetaone - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Great. Another game I can’t watch with my paid GCL subscription.

    Thanks NBC. Suck a big one. You and NHL network.

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    The only way to overcome adversity is to win games. Stop complaining and man up.

  9. phillyflyerfansofu - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Go Flyers!!!

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