April 09, 2014

After ending Tampa Bay's franchise-record nine-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Flyers can continue their surge if they avoid a ninth straight road loss to the Lightning.

The Flyers also could send the Lightning to their worst losing streak since October on Friday night.

Philadelphia (31-23-11) completed a 5-1 homestand by scoring three times in the third period to beat Tampa Bay 4-2 on Monday.

"We're playing with confidence and we're sure of ourselves right now," forward Wayne Simmonds told the Flyers' official website. "It's a good way to be feeling going down the stretch here."

Simmonds has 10 points during a 7-2-1 stretch for Philadelphia, which is ninth in the Eastern Conference and very much within striking distance of both wild-card spots. The Flyers now face both Florida teams - both among the East's top six - on back-to-back nights as they hit the road for the first time since Feb. 23.

"This is going to be a great test for us going down (to Florida) for two really tough games," said Steve Mason, who has allowed two goals in two games after being benched in five straight. "That starts with a real tough game against the Lightning."

Mason made 16 saves Monday and had 29 in the teams' other meeting but let defenseman Jason Garrison score in overtime of a 3-2 loss at Tampa Bay (39-23-5) on Oct. 8.

The Flyers have totaled 14 goals during an 0-6-2 skid at Tampa, but the last two were decided by one goal each. A victory Friday would let Philadelphia win the season series for the first time since 2009-10.

The Lightning had won a team-record nine straight before Monday's lackluster effort against the Flyers, and they followed with a 1-0 overtime loss to Boston one night later.

"That's not who we are as a team," forward Brian Boyle said of the performance at Philadelphia. "We don't show that very often if at all."

Boyle felt the effort was significantly better against the Bruins, one of the teams they're battling for the Atlantic Division lead.

"It's unfortunate we couldn't get two (points) tonight, but we had our chances," he said. "We competed pretty hard. We're still trying to work to get better before the playoffs start."

Tampa Bay fell to 12-2-1 at home in 2016 and now could lose three straight overall for the first time since a season-high 0-3-1 slide Oct. 24-31.

Ben Bishop, who sat out at Philadelphia, made 32 saves as his six-game winning streak ended Tuesday. He has a 1.42 goals-against average in those last seven starts and stopped 23 shots against the Flyers in October.

While Bishop has had a hand in Tampa Bay killing 67 of its last 73 penalties, the power play has failed to score in five straight games and is 4 for 51 in the last 16. The Lightning are 1 for 5 against the Flyers this season.

Steven Stamkos has not recorded a point in three consecutive games - his longest drought since Tampa's four-game skid in October - and didn't have any in the first two with the Flyers.

Philadelphia's Shayne Gostisbehere scored twice Monday. He recorded one point in the previous six that followed a 15-game point streak. His 14 goals - in 47 games - are a team record for a rookie defenseman.

''He's learning fast,'' said captain Claude Giroux, who had two assists Monday. ''He listens. When a young player comes in and wants to get better and listens to the people around him, good things are going to happen.''

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