Nov 25, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers


Tonight is a special night, not just for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but their fans as well. When the doors open to the Tampa Bay Times Forum tonight, we will play host to former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier, right wing Steve Downie and the rest of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Both of these two teams have had their share of ups and downs this season. Fortunately, the Lightning’s downs have not been quite as stressful as the Flyers’.

At this particular juncture, the Lightning have momentum on their side. The Lightning played one of the best games that they have played all season long on Monday night against the Brad Richards and the New York Rangers when they blanked them 5-0.

On the other side of the ice, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped their game 3-1 against the Florida Panthers on Monday night.

Looking at the numbers, the advantage clearly goes to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Right now, St. Louis has 10 goals and 14 assists for a total of 24 points. This puts him at the front of the team in both assists and points. Not far behind St. Louis is center Valtteri Filppula who has 9 goals and 9 assists for a total of 18 points.

On the other side of the ice, it is captain Claude Giroux holding it down for the Flyers with 3 goals and 13 assists for a total of 16 points. Lecavalier has 8 goals and 5 assists for a total of 14 points so far this season. He currently leads the Flyers in goals.

When it comes to team stats, the advantage is still on the Bolts’ side.

Flyers Bolts
Goals Per Game 2.17 2.88
Goals Against Per Game 2.39 2.54
Shots Per Game 29.87 27.92
Penalty Minutes Per Game 16.83 12.71
Power Play Goals 14 15
Power Play Percentage 15.6% 17.2%
Penalty Kill Percentage 81.7% 86.2%

 

The Lightning have only a slight advantage in Goals Per Game. In Goals Against and Shots Per Game, the Flyers do have a slight advantage. One of the things that is going to separate these two teams tonight is going to be the penalty minutes.

We all know full well that the Flyers are a very hard hitting team that likes to fight. While I love a good fight as much as the next person, the Lightning need to limit the amount of time they spend in the box tonight. There were a few moments in Monday’s game where things could have gone very differently had goaltender Ben Bishop not been the one backstopping the Bolts that night; especially during the 5 on 3.

The Lightning are clearly stronger on special teams, so if the Bolts can back off some and let the Flyers send themselves to the box, and we all know it is going to happen more than once, it will give the Lightning a valuable chance to capitalize.

What do you think the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to need to do in order to come out on top against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight? Which Bolt do you think is going to strike first in tonight’s competition? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.

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Tags: NHL Tampa Bay Lightning