Flyers hope to contain Tampa Bay's power play
The Philadelphia Flyers might want to stay out of the penalty box in Saturday's home game against Tampa Bay.
The Lightning, the Eastern Conference leaders through their first 19 games, scored four power play goals -- three of them by Brayden Point on the same power play -- in Thursday night's 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh. Entering play Friday, they were second in the NHL with 27 power play goals.
Not a great omen for the Flyers, who were next-to-last in the league in penalty killing percentage (71.2) and tied for league lead in power play goals allowed (19).
Point scored three power-play goals in 1:31 -- the sixth-fastest hat trick in NHL history -- Thursday night.
"That's a first for me," Point said after his team ended a two-game losing streak to improve to 13-5-1. "They told me after the game, so it's pretty cool. Guys made good plays and I was able to score."
Nikita Kucherov assisted on all three goals to get to 200 assists in his career, as the Lightning won in the first game after losing Andrei Vasilevskiy to a broken foot.
"I thought we moved the puck well," Point said. "Obviously, 5-on-3s are pretty tough to defend, and I thought we weren't getting too cute with it. I thought we were making good plays to the net and shooting the puck."
While the Lightning were evening their record to 1-1 on a four-game road trip, the Flyers were stymied by Keith Kinkaid and the New Jersey Devils in the third of five straight home games. It was the second straight low-scoring loss for the Flyers, who have come off a 5-0-1 streak with only one goal in two games.
They hit five posts -- one by Oskar Lindblom with his team down 1-0 in the third period -- in the loss that dropped them to 9-9-1.
And they also lost goaltender Brian Elliott to injury for the second time this month to a pulled groin. He was relieved by Calvin Pickard, who replaced him for two games on the 3-0-1 road trip and went 1-0-1.
Friday, the Flyers said Elliott, whose injury could be related to previous core muscle and hip surgeries, should miss two weeks. Alex Lyon was recalled from the minors and there's a chance the injured Michal Neuwirth could return while Elliott is out.
Pickard was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 2.
"I'm confident," Pickard said after Thursday's loss. "I had a couple good starts last week I just have to have a good sleep tonight, wake up tomorrow and get back to work."
Louis Domingue has replaced Vasilevskiy, expected to miss three to four weeks after getting hit with a routine shot in practice, after the starter was injured in practice. He is 1-1-0 in two career games against the Flyers.
The Lightning have surrendered the first goal of the game in nine of the last 10 and continue to come from behind.
"We didn't quit," Steven Stamkos said Thursday. "We knew we would probably get some calls after the flurry of penalties we had in the first. We were able to get fortunate and get a couple 5-on-3s, which the old cliché is if you don't score on your 5-on-3, you probably don't win the game. We get two there, and then one right after on that extended power play. So special teams were huge tonight."
Pickard is 0-0-1 in his only career start against the Lightning.
While the Lightning power play was potent Thursday, the Flyers are 2-for-32 with the advantage over the last 11 games after going 0-for-4 Thursday.
They got James van Riemsdyk back Thursday for his first game since Oct. 6 and he caused a power-play goal to be waved off because of goalie interference.
"If you're out for six weeks, especially at the start of the season when you've been off already for three or four months, you're definitely not as sharp as you'd like to be," said van Riemsdyk, a major offseason signing.
"I'm sure I'll be fine; it's just one of those things that's a work in progress."
Radko Gudas, who missed Thursday's Flyers loss because of illness, was back on the ice Friday.
Updated November 16, 2018