If the Tampa Bay Lightning don't go after the puck and stay in their 1-3-1 trap Saturday night against the Flyers, fans at the Wells Fargo Center may again see the NHL's version of "stall ball."
"We might sit back there for four or five minutes at a time," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after the Flyers' optional practice Friday in Voorhees.
The last time the teams met, on Nov. 9, host Tampa Bay didn't go after the Flyers when they had the puck in their own end in the opening period. Instead, they sat back and waited at center ice - and the Flyers frequently made little attempt to move forward during the first period, circling in their own zone.
Twice, the Flyers were called for defensive-zone faceoffs for not moving the puck forward.
After the Lightning scored a 2-1 overtime win, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger - whose team managed just 15 shots - said Tampa Bay's style of play was pushing hockey "into the stone ages."
In Saturday's game, the Lightning will be without star winger Martin St. Louis, who is out indefinitely because of facial and nasal fractures suffered Thursday morning when struck by a shot taken by teammate Dominic Moore during practice.
St. Louis had played in 499 straight games before missing the Lightning's 3-2 shootout win over the Rangers Thursday night.
"He's a heart-and-soul guy," Laviolette said of St. Louis.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's dean of discipline, traveled to Voorhees and met with the Flyers on Friday. He discussed several matters, including head hits, boarding penalties, and what types of plays will draw a suspension.
"He just wanted to show us right and wrong hits," said defenseman Braydon Coburn, the Flyers' player representative. ". . . He wanted to show us some examples."
Entering Friday, Claude Giroux led the NHL with 37 points. . . . The Lightning's Steven Stamkos (30 points) has points in eight of his last nine games. . . . Scott Hartnell has seven goals in the last nine games and has goals in four straight. . . . Jody Shelley, Harry Zolnierczyk, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Kevin Marshall, Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo, Matt Walker, and Sergei Bobrovsky were the only players who skated during the Flyers workout. . . . HBO's 24/7, which chronicles the Flyers and Rangers leading up to the Winter Classic, will start airing on Wednesday. . . . The Flyers have won four straight, with two of the victories in overtime.
- Sam Carchidi