With a playoff berth secured, the Philadelphia Flyers will now play for better position in the postseason. Thursday night, they will face the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Flyers are two points behind the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division standings with three games left to play. The Flyers can jump the Rangers in the standings if the Rangers split their next two games and the Flyers go 2-0-1 in their next three.
Thursday night’s game carries huge implications for two reasons. One, the Flyers can tie for second place if the Rangers lose in regulation to the Buffalo Sabres.
Second, the Flyers are tied with the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets with 91 points. With neither team in action tonight, the Flyers can give themselves a two-point cushion with little time left in the regular season.
Ray Emery will start for the Flyers. He is 8-11-2 with a 2.87 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. Over his last three starts, Emery is 1-2-1 but has a 2.25
goals against average and a .933 save percentage. He will be opposed by Anders Lindback, who is replacing the injured Ben Bishop. Lindback is 6-12-2 with a 3.11 goals against average and an .884 save percentage. In his seven career starts against the Flyers, Lindback is 4-3-0 with a 2.30 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
The Lighting, like the Flyers, sit in the third spot in their division. They are 5-3-2 in their last ten and have won their most recent game. The Tampa Bay Times Forum, like Madison Square Garden, has been a thorn in the Flyers’ side in recent years. Dating back to the 2010-11 season, the Flyers are winless in their last four games in Tampa Bay. Their last road win against the Lighting was back on February 11, 2011 when Kimmo Timonen scored in the seventh round of the shootout to give the Flyers a 4-3 win. With the third best home record in the Eastern Conference – 23-10-6 – the Flyers will need to find another gear to scrap out a win.
Thursday night is the third and final time these two teams will face each other. The Flyers have lost both games in regulation to the Lightning this season, having been outscored 10 to 5. Despite the trade that sent Martin St. Louis to the Rangers, the Lighting still have a respectable team. Steven Stamkos is one of the most lethal scorers in the NHL and Ryan Callahan has posted 11 points in 17 games with the Lightning. Callahan has 25 points in 34 career games against the Flyers.