The Flyers will find out just how much progress they have made when they play host Tuesday to Steven Stamkos-led Tampa Bay, a team with legitimate Stanley Cup hopes.
"They play a very fast game, maybe one of the fastest in the league," Flyers coach Craig Berube said after Monday's practice in Voorhees. "Stamkos is a huge threat, and they have good goaltending. . . . They're solid all around."
The Flyers have a five-game points streak (3-0-2), including wins over New Jersey and Carolina in their last two matchups.
Neither of those teams come close to matching the Lightning's talent, especially on the offensive side, where Stamkos (17 goals entering Monday), Nikita Kucherov (11), Ryan Callahan (11) and Tyler Johnson (30 points, plus-16) lead the way.
"We're going to really have to check. I told the guys before and after practice about being a physical team and being on the right side of them and taking away their speed," Berube said. "If you get on the wrong side of the puck against these guys, they can burn you. It's only a matter of a second or two and they're gone."
Entering Monday's game in Pittsburgh, Tampa had a 19-9-3 record and was second in the league in goals scored (3.36 per game). The Flyers are 23d in the NHL in goals allowed (2.86 per game), but they have only surrendered a total of six goals in their last four games.
"It's going to be a great test for us," said goalie Steve Mason, who is expected to get the start. "In my opinion, Tampa's one of the top teams in the league. They have some of the best offensive players in the game right now. . . . But if we can build off our defensive-zone play that we've had the last couple games, hopefully we'll be in good shape."
The Flyers are coming off Saturday's 5-1 win over visiting Carolina.
"There's a good sense of confidence in this locker room," winger R.J. Umberger said. "I think that [five-game] road trip helped us in a lot of ways. It was a tough, long trip and we came together pretty good, and we played well in the last few games of the trip. We came home with a good feeling."