For Flyers-Lightning, it's Giroux vs. Stamkos

Posted: December 26, 2011

Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos, arguably the NHL's top active players, will square off when the Flyers play Tampa Bay on Tuesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Giroux, the Flyers' shifty center, leads the NHL with 41 points, while Stamkos is tied for second in the league with 20 goals.

The Flyers are resuming a five-game road trip, one in which they are 1-1-1 - a 2-1 shootout loss in Colorado, a 4-1 win in Dallas, and a 4-2 defeat in New York to the Rangers.

Overall, the Flyers have an NHL-best 28 points (13-4-2) on the road.

This is the Flyers' first trip to Tampa since a slow-paced, 2-1 overtime loss on Nov. 9, a game in which the Flyers responded to the Lightning's 1-3-1 neutral-zone trap by playing the NHL's version of "stall ball." They held the puck in their defensive end as the Lightning sat back and refused to go after the puck carriers, particularly in the opening period.

The Lightning sent hockey "back to the stone ages," defenseman Chris Pronger said after that loss.

On Dec. 10, playing at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers scored a 5-2 win over the Lightning in a game in which the trap wasn't a factor.

Will the Flyers slow it down if Tampa Bay goes back to its trap Tuesday?

"We want to do what's best for our team," coach Peter Laviolette said after Monday's practice before close to 500 fans in Voorhees.

The Flyers are second in the NHL, averaging 3.5 goals per game - nearly a goal per game more than Tampa (2.6).

Injury updates. Danny Briere (bruised hand), Brayden Schenn (concussion) and Sean Couturier (head injury) skated at practice. Schenn and Briere were in regular jerseys, and Couturier wore a yellow (no-contact) jersey.

All three players are listed as day-to-day, and all made the trip to Tampa. Briere will play Tuesday, and Schenn is a strong possibility.

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson, trying to make a comeback from wrist surgery, is also close to returning.

Breakaways. Tampa has won just six of its last 19 games and is 13th in the 15-team Eastern Conference. . . . Scott Hartnell is tied for ninth in the NHL at plus-20. . . . The third installment of HBO's 24/7, also known as What Will Bryz Say This Week?, will be shown Wednesday at 10 p.m. . . . After Tuesday's game, the Flyers will play in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Penguins fans will be waiting for Jaromir Jagr. "I know what to expect," said Jagr, who turned down an offer from his former team, Pittsburgh, and signed with the Flyers. He kidded he will wear earplugs Thursday. . . . Even though they played in the 2010 Winter Classic, the Flyers have just seven players who were in that game.


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi at phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

 

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