Pronger to return with visor; Flyers visit Lightning on TSN2

The Sports Network
11/9/2011 1:13:32 PM
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(Sports Network) - Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger will wear a visor in his return from a serious eye injury tonight when Philadelphia visits the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Pronger suffered the injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 24 when the stick of Mikhail Grabovski struck Pronger on a follow through from a shot. Pronger has missed the last six games.

You can watch the game live on TSN2 and TSN Mobile TV at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt and join the TSN.ca Game Night Blog to chat with other hockey fans during the game.

The league's current leaders in goals scored, the Flyers try to extend their four-game point streak this evening and slow down Steven Stamkos and the Lightning.

A former 51-goal scorer in 2009-10, Stamkos finished second in the NHL last year with 45 goals, but had just one tally through his first five games. However, the 21-year-old center has nine goals in his last nine games, netting a hat trick in last Friday's win over the Blackhawks before notching a goal and an assist in Sunday's 4-3 come-from-behind shootout victory over the Panthers.

Stamkos is tied with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for second in the league in goals scored with 10, one behind the leader Phil Kessel of Toronto, and has tallied eight times in 12 career games versus the Flyers.

The Lightning have scored 43 goals on the season, tied for sixth-best in the league, while the Flyers are topping all clubs with 56 goals on the season. That is a bit of a surprise given that Philadelphia traded away two of its top goal scorers this past offseason in captain Mike Richards and forward Jeff Carter.

"I don't think anybody expected that," said Flyers forward Danny Briere of his team leading the league in goals at this point. "Obviously, we lost a lot of firepower, but a lot of guys are stepping up.

Nearly the whole roster stepped up in Philadelphia's last game, a 9-2 victory over Columbus. Eight different players scored goals and 15 Flyers had at least one point. Rookie Sean Couturier was the lone multi-goal scorer, posting his first career two-goal game, and both James van Riemsdyk and former Blue Jacket Jakub Voracek tallied a goal and two assists.

Claude Giroux tallied for the ninth time this year and Jaromir Jagr scored and had an assist to give him six goals and five assists over a seven-game point streak. Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves to give Philadelphia a 3-0-1 record in its past four games.

"I think it was just nice to come out and play well," Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think from the start we did the right things, pucks went in the net and I think more than anything we wanted to play the game the right way and because of that you get results you're looking for."

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson recorded the first point of his NHL career with an assist and finished the game a plus-6. The Flyers' offense may have another weapon back tonight in rookie Matt Read, who could return after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.

Stamkos, meanwhile, was part of a team effort on Sunday that saw the Lightning rally from three goals down to beat the Panthers in a shootout. Teddy Purcell had the game-tying goal in the third period to complete the rally and Dominic Moore scored the winner in the shootout's fourth round.

Mathieu Garon started the game, but made only nine saves before his exit. Dwayne Roloson stopped all 28 shots he faced in relief to give the Lightning their sixth victory in eight games.

"I don't know how many times I've been throw in [in relief, but] I don't think we've ever come back to get a win," Roloson said. " Give our guys a lot of credit. We stuck with our game plan and battled back."

Forward Ryan Malone joined Stamkos as a second-period scorer, but did not play in the third frame due to an upper-body injury. Victor Hedman missed the game entirely with an upper-body issue and both players are questionable for this game.

Philadelphia snapped a three-game slide to Tampa Bay in the final meeting between the teams last year and has taken six of the past nine encounters. The Flyers have won four of their last five trips to the Forum.

Chris Pronger (Photo: Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
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