After dominating the Dallas Stars last Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers (25-16-6) dropped both games in their weekend back-to-back to the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators, missing out on four potential points in the standings.
Tonight will be another test for the Flyers as the Tampa Bay Lightning (24-18-5) come into town. Although the Lightning haven’t been as hot as in previous years, they’re still in the playoff race and are always a dangerous opponent. Getting back into the win column after a rough weekend will be the priority tonight.
On Monday, the Flyers loaned Bobby Brink to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and recalled Olle Lycksell. Brink was scratched in three of the last five games, and a stint in the AHL for the time being will be beneficial.
Lycksell will draw into the lineup for the second time this season and the ninth time in his career. He last played on Dec. 7 against the Arizona Coyotes, seeing 6:11 of ice time.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Has fatigue caught up to the Lightning? After reaching the Stanley Cup Final three times in a row during the last four years, the Lightning have seen a few bumps in the road this season. But despite an up-and-down season and question marks regarding the future of their captain Steven Stamkos, they’re always a force to be reckoned with.
They’re fifth in the Atlantic Divison and own the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The east is tighter than usual this season, and every point for the Lightning is going to be crucial for a playoff spot.
The main player the Flyers will need to be cautious of tonight is Nikita Kucherov. The 30-year-old forward ranks second in league scoring with 76 points (28G, 48A) and is one of the favorites to win the Hart Trophy later this year. He hasn’t found the back of the net in his last five games but has recorded nine assists.
Kucherov will see first-line and top powerplay unit duties. Since day one of the season, he’s been dominant. For the Flyers to find success tonight, they’ll need to start by shutting down Kucherov.
Projected lineup for the Lightning:
The Flyers will be without Owen Tippett again this evening. Tippett missed Sunday’s matchup against the Senators after leaving Saturday’s game with an injury. The hole that Tippett leaves in the lineup is detrimental, and it showed during Sunday’s effort.
It seemed likely that Carter Hart was going to get the start tonight since Sam Ersson played on Sunday, but that is not the case. Ersson will get the nod to go up against Tampa Bay. Jamie Drysdale has seen instant chemistry with Morgan Frost since making his Flyers debut.
The pair has meshed well with each other on the powerplay along with Cam Atkinson as of late. Tampa Bay’s penalty kill ranks 12th in the league and has seen success since Christmas, going 22 for 25. The Flyers will need to cash in on the man advantage when given the opportunity. Expect Drysdale and Frost to be creating chances.
Projected lineup for the Flyers:
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Philadelphia Flyers moneyline (-110)
Jamie Drysdale anytime goal scorer (+900)
Morgan Frost to record 3+ shots on goal (+178)
Tampa Bay Lightning moneyline (-110)
Nikita Kucherov anytime goal scorer (+125)
How to Watch
You can watch the Flyers take on the Lightning tonight on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The radio broadcast will be available on 97.5 The Fanatic and Flyers Radio 24/7. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.