Nothing says Saturday night like an intense Hockey game between two playoff-caliber teams. The Flyers travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning, who are looking for their tenth consecutive victory. But attaining that feat might not be as easy as it sounds.
Tampa Bay may be the NHL’s hottest team, the Flyers are no slouches. They’ve amassed a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 and the goals have been coming from all angles…on both sides.
This game promises to be the ultimate indication of just how close or how far this Flyers team is from going toe-to-toe with the NHL’s elite. Are the Flyers ready to make some noise in the playoffs? Can they embrace the challenge that Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov bring to the table? It all depends on what version of the team shows up.
The issue with the Flyers recently has been consistency. Dropping 7 goals one game and being made to look foolish by the Devils of all teams the next isn’t exactly the best way to ignite a playoff charge…but the Flyers will have to be at their very best if they have any hope of salvaging a result here.
Three things to watch
A valentines gift
Fresh off a 26-save performance against the Panthers, Carter Hart will be in net against arguably the league’s most potent forwards. Four players have 20+ goals for Tampa Bay this season (Philly have 0) and with the defense continuing to struggle to find a rhythm, Hart will be exposed to what may feel like a machine gun round of slapshots. It will be a big test for the young goaltender, who will be making his 35th appearance for the Flyers tonight.
Lightning in a bottle
Sure, the Lightning’s offense may be red-hot, but the Flyers’ brightest stars somehow find ways to step up when the two clash. Giroux has 31 assists and 5 goals in 36 games against Tampa Bay, and is currently riding a piping-hot streak of his own, amassing 7 points in his last 4.
As for Jake Voracek, he has 15 assists and 5 goals in 27 games against Tampa Bay. The Flyers may be all about the youth infusion, but it’s the vets who may find the net today.
This has been a real area of improvement for the Flyers recently. Their PK unit is 7-for-7 in its last 3 games, but will face a different beast in Tampa Bay. I mean, being a man down against the foursome Kucherov, Stamkos, Killorn, and Point, is a terrifying prospect. However, the Lightning endured a nine-game streak without a powerplay goal and with some game-time decisions over key players, who’s to say that the Flyers can’t silence the Beast once more?
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports