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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 11th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (26-14-4) at Philadelphia Flyers (23-17-4), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Philadelphia Flyers will try to keep a lengthy home winning streak alive on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Wells Fargo Center.
In addition to winning three straight and seven of eight overall, the Flyers have notched 10 consecutive victories on home ice and the club hasn't lost in South Philadelphia since dropping a 3-0 decision to New Jersey on Nov. 7. It's the longest winning streak on home ice for Philadelphia since an 11-game tear from Oct. 27-Dec. 5, 2003.
The recent upswing has the Flyers in a tie with Washington for second place in the Metropolitan Division, but they are still 16 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot.
Philadelphia earned its latest victory on Wednesday, downing the visiting Montreal Canadiens by a 3-1 score.
Steve Mason stopped 19 shots in the win over the Habs and the Flyers offense struck three times in the first half of regulation. Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo and Michael Raffl tallied for the Flyers, who were playing in their first home game since Dec. 23 after going 5-1-0 on a six-game road trip.
"We're winning a lot of different ways. Tonight I thought we had a real good first period. We got the lead and did what we had to do to win the game," noted Flyers head coach Craig Berube. "I think they're confident guys right now and believe they can win. They're not always going to play their best hockey but we're squeezing wins out."
Andrej Meszaros tied a career high with three assists to help the Flyers improve to 12-7-0 on home ice this season.
Philadelphia, however, has not fared well against the Lightning in recent years, losing two straight, five of six and nine of the last 12 meetings in this series. Tampa recorded a 4-2 home win over the Flyers on Nov. 27, as Victor Hedman scored two goals for the Bolts and Anders Lindback made 19 saves in the victory.
The Flyers have won two of three and five of the last eight meetings in Philly.
Tampa Bay lost for the second time in three games on Thursday, dropping a heartbreaking 4-3 regulation decision in Washington. The Lightning clawed their way back from an early 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period, but they failed to get a point thanks to Eric Fehr's game-winning marker with 52 seconds left in regulation.
Tyler Johnson, B.J. Crombeen and Ondrej Palat scored one goal apiece for the Lightning, who had won three of four entering the contest. Lindback allowed all four goals on 20 shots in the setback.
Washington led 3-2 entering the final period, but Palat, who is riding an eight-game point streak, tipped in a Matt Carle shot to tie things up with 5:30 left. Fehr, though, netted the decisive score off a Mike Green shot from the right circle with under a minute left.
"We clearly did not manage the last minute of the game," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "We just broke down at the end. We haven't done that all year and I suppose at some point it was bound to happen."
Tampa hopes to bounce back today on the road, where the club has won six of its past seven to boost its away record to 12-9-2. The Bolts are kicking off a three-game swing on Saturday and also will visit Columbus and the New York Rangers before returning to Central Florida.
With Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop still dealing with a sprained right wrist, Lindback expects to get the start again on Saturday. His win over the Flyers on Nov. 27 came in his first career outing against the Flyers.
01/11 10:26:04 ET