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Flyers vs. Lightning Preview: Looking to keep the good times rolling

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Flyers can move into 2nd place in Metro tonight

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After another thrilling overtime win vs. the Detroit Red Wings, the Flyers come home to face the league leader in points, the Tampa Bay Lightning. In their only other matchup this season, the Flyers came away with the win in Tampa’s house, 5-3. After tonight’s game, the Flyers will get essentially an entire week off, playing again in Washington next Wednesday. With a win tonight, the Flyers can bypass the New Jersey Devils and reach second place in the Metro—assuming the Devils lose their game vs. Nashville.

The Lightning have been the league’s best team seemingly since day one of this year’s regular season, dominating the weak Atlantic Division and being one of the deepest teams in the league. Their team speed is something that will be of major concern for the Flyers tonight as they try to contain the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point. Tampa will be without the services of some of their key pieces, however, as Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat are both out with lower-body injuries. The loss of Hedman is something the Flyers will definitely like to take advantage of.

Lightning Player to Watch - Brayden Point

While one of the smaller players on the ice, Point’s speed is something the Flyers will have to keep focused on throughout the night. He’s also third on the team in points so speed is not all there is to his game, the 21 year old 3rd round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft will be a key factor in this one.

PHI Point Leaders

  1. Claude Giroux - 56 points
  2. Jakub Voracek - 55 points
  3. Sean Couturier - 49 points

TBL Point Leaders

  1. Nikita Kucherov - 61 points
  2. Steven Stamkos - 56 points
  3. Brayden Point - 43 points

Team Metrics

Flyers CF%: 49.33

Lightning CF%: 52.14

Flyers xGF%: 50.58

Lightning xGF%: 53.42

If we go by the numbers, the Lightning should dominate the possession game tonight. This could be another one of those games where the Flyers sneak out a point by forcing overtime then working their magic in the final five minutes. (Travis Konecny, I’m looking at you)

And the predictions say...

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Lightning are favored in this one according to the models currently up on Corsica.hockey. However, the average margin might not be as high as you’d expect, with the Lightning only edging them out 51.5 to 48.5. The Flyers are actually a 58.2% favorite according to one of the models.

Flyers Projected Lines

Forwards

Giroux - Couturier - Konecny

Raffl - Filppula - Voracek

Weal - Patrick - Simmonds

Goulbourne - Laughton - Lehtera

Defense

Provorov - Gostisbehere

Hagg - MacDonald

Manning - Gudas

Goalie

Elliott

All stats courtesy of hockey-reference, Natural Stat Trick, and Corsica.hockey