Preview: Lightning road trip continues in Philly vs. streaking Flyers
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — It’s taken some overtime heroics by Travis Konecny, but the Philadelphia Flyers are on a roll that has pushed them into playoff position in the Eastern Conference standings.
Konecny scored goals exactly 27 seconds into overtime in back-to-back road wins over the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings, extending the Flyers’ win streak to four games.
Heading into Thursday’s home meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia has won eight of its last nine games.
Konecny has been involved in four of the last five game-winning goals for the Flyers (24-18-8, 56 points). He plays alongside Sean Couturier and defenseman Ivan Provorov in overtime periods. Konecny now has a four-game point streak with three goals and two assists and a plus-4 rating.
Since their 10-game losing streak in from Nov. 11-Dec. 2, the Flyers have gone 16-5-1 and have moved into a tie with the New Jersey Devils for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
“Every night is so close,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I feel like every night, there are different points in the game that can take it one direction or another. If you’re not as sharp as you can be, all of a sudden you can find yourself in a bad stretch of results.”
The Lightning (33-12-3, 69 points) also are coming off their own overtime victory on the road, a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, and have won two in a row after a three-game losing streak.
Tuesday’s win was capped by Yanni Gourde’s overtime goal and included Steven Stamkos’ game-tying goal in the closing minutes of regulation. Stamkos’ 18th goal of the season snapped a nine-game goal drought.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times. “Guys have stepped up. This group believes in themselves.”
The Lightning’s stop in Philadelphia concludes a four-game road trip.
Against the Predators, the Lightning also received goals from Chris Kunitz, who has scored in each of his last two games, and Vladislav Namestnikov, who snapped a 13-game goal drought.
Noticeably absent from the Tampa Bay lineup were defensemen Victor Hedman (lower body injury) and rookie blue liner Mikhail Sergachev, who was a surprise healthy scratch by Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Sergachev, 19, has eight goals, 27 points and is a plus-11 and is expected to return to the lineup against Philadelphia.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is also expected to return to action Thursday after sitting out Tuesday’s win in Nashville in favor of Louis Domingue.
Vasilevskiy is coming off Monday’s 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. He had allowed 23 goals in his previous five starts before turning in a 40-save shutout in Chicago.
Vasilevskiy’s six road shutouts are a franchise record.
Brian Elliott (19-11-7, 2.77 GAA, .908 save percentage) is expected to get the call for Philadelphia. He has won six of his last eight starts, including a 5-3 win over the Lightning on Dec. 29. He has allowed just three goals in his last two games.