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Flyers to face shorthanded Lightning, with Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov out injured

The Flyers will also avoid Lightning star Nikita Kucherov, who is out with a lower-body injury.

Flyers goaltender Carter Hart stops the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point during the second period on Thursday, November 18, 2021 in Philadelphia.
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart stops the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point during the second period on Thursday, November 18, 2021 in Philadelphia.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

When the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice against the Flyers for the second time in six days on Tuesday night, they’ll do so without one of their best players, center Brayden Point.

After sustaining an upper-body injury on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils when he crashed into the boards, Point is out of the lineup for four to six weeks, the Lightning announced on Tuesday. In his last outing against the Flyers, Point registered a goal and also scored in the second round of the shootout to lead the Lightning to a 4-3 victory.

» READ MORE: Flyers in no rush to recall top prospects Morgan Frost, Cam York

Even without Point and winger Nikita Kucherov, who is also out with a long-term injury, the Lightning boast a formidable roster, as well as a challenging environment for visiting teams at Amalie Arena.

“This building’s a tough building to come and play,” captain Claude Giroux said. “But, for us, it’s about focusing on our game, focusing on what we have to do. And if we play the way we want to, we’re just right there. We’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (.917 save percentage, 2.38 goals-against average) will get the start in net against the Flyers. He has won six straight regular-season starts against the Flyers — his last regular-season loss to them came on Dec. 29, 2017.

Leading up to Tuesday night’s game, coach Alain Vigneault said the team had discussions about different ways to try to beat the dynamic goaltender. Vigneault came back to the conclusion that the Flyers need to have better net-front presence and create traffic in front of the 2021 Conn Smythe winner.

“Can’t try to beat him with the perfect shot,” Vigneault said. “You just have to trust your instincts, prepare well, and go out there with confidence and challenge him as much as you can. We watched a lot of sequences this morning, showed a lot of stuff to our group, and hopefully they can come out tonight and make it real challenging, make it real hard on him throughout the game.”

Captain Steven Stamkos also stepped up in the Lightning’s last victory over the Flyers, scoring a goal in regulation and netting the game-deciding goal in the first round of the shootout. He’s posted points in three of the team’s last four games (two goals, two assists) and leads the team in scoring (nine goals, 10 assists).


Goalie Carter Hart (5-3-3) was scheduled to start in net for the Flyers. Hart has posted a strong start to the season — he ranks seventh in save percentage (.932) and eighth in goals-against average (2.25) among goalies who have been played at least 10 games. ... The Flyers’ top power-play unit — Giroux, Travis Konecny, Derick Brassard, Cam Atkinson, and Ivan Provorov —found the score sheet on Saturday when Brassard scored against the Boston Bruins. Giroux has high expectations for the power play as the Flyers look to reverse a disappointing 15.4% conversion rate so far this season (26th in the NHL). “I think we just need to play better as a five-guy unit and move the puck quicker,” Giroux said. “When we have a good opportunity to shoot it, to make sure it’s a good shot. We’ve done some good things in the past this year on the power play, and we’ve just got to get back to that.”