Back at the St. Pete Times Forum following a somewhat successful trip, Tampa Bay hasn’t been able to claim much success at home lately.
The Lightning look for just their third home win since Nov. 1 on Thursday night as they host a Philadelphia Flyers club that just suffered its first home loss in more than a month.
Tampa Bay (13-20-10), which is 2-5-4 in its last 11 home games, tries to snap a two-game skid on home ice on Thursday following its most lopsided defeat this season - a 7-1 loss to San Jose on Tuesday. It was the team’s worst defeat since falling 7-1 to Washington on March 18, 2007.
“The guys tried back there, but it’s tough,” said Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet, whose squad finished 3-2-0 on its trip. “When you give (San Jose) any momentum with their power play, you’re done. We got it to 2-1, and for a five-minute stretch there I thought we could squeak something out there, but then we took a rash of penalties.”
Tampa Bay trimmed the Sharks’ lead to 2-1 with a second-period goal from Steven Stamkos, but committed four penalties during an 8:36 stretch as San Jose scored three unanswered goals in the period—two with the man advantage.
“We got one goal back and had them on their heels a little, but then the penalties came,” Stamkos said. “We need to stay more disciplined, especially against a great team like this.”
The Lightning are fourth in the NHL in penalties with 267. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is ranked third with 304.
Tampa Bay went 0-for-4 with the man advantage in Monday’s 3-1 win over Los Angeles then failed in two power-play opportunities against San Jose.
Karri Ramo gave Mike Smith a night off and stopped 35 shots for the Lightning on Tuesday. Smith is 1-0-1 with a 2.46 GAA against the Flyers in the teams’ two meetings this season, both in Philadelphia.
Following a 2-1 home loss to Tampa Bay on Nov. 8, the Flyers went 12-0-2 at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia (23-11-9), though, had its eight-game home winning streak snapped on Tuesday, 4-2 to Pittsburgh.
“That was the exact game that they needed,” said Mike Knuble, whose goal gave Philadelphia a 1-0 first-period lead.
The Flyers, however, fell to 17-2-5 in regulation this season when they score first.
Mike Richards went scoreless for just the second time in 11 home games on Tuesday. He also had the puck stolen by Sidney Crosby in the second period as the Penguins’ captain set up the second of Pittsburgh’s four unanswered goals.
“Lately we felt invincible kind of, whenever we were down,” Richards told the team’s official Web site.
In the teams’ last meeting on Dec. 2, Richards had two goals, including the game winner, as Philadelphia defeated Tampa Bay 4-3 in overtime.
Martin Biron made 22 saves on Tuesday as he lost his first home game in five starts. He is 3-0-0 with a 2.01 GAA in his last three games in Tampa Bay.
Prior to its 4-2 loss on Dec. 29, 2007, Philadelphia had won nine of 11 in Tampa Bay.