The NHLs second-leading scorerSteven Stamkoswill be on the ice Monday night for the Lightening as the Flyers host Tampa Bay.
Stamkos has 87 pointsone more than the Flyers Claude Girouxand 10 less than Pittsburghs Evgeni Malkin, who is the favorite at this point to win the Art Ross Trophy (scoring title).
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has been using two versions of a shutdown line. Max Talbot and Sean Couturier work together, while the other winger has rotated between Zac Rinaldo and Jakub Voracek.
Voracek is expected to be on that line Monday, head-to-head against the Stamkos unit with Marty St. Louis and Teddy Purcell.
Theyve done a good job, Laviolette said of his shutdown line. Its been probably seven games now where we try get Cobie and Grossmann out there with Coots line, against the other teams big guns, whoever they might be.
Just another challenge. You throw to a guy like Sean and hes answered the bell. Hes done a good job.
Couturier is excited about this challenge too.
I try to take pride in what I do and shut them down, he said. If we can get some offense created, it's good. Even if we're playing sort of a defensive role, if we're getting our chances offensively, it's all good.
Whos tougher to play againstMalkin or Stamkos?
Dont knowwere gonna find out tonight, Couturier said. Theyre different players. Stamkos is faster, his shot is pretty good, one of the best in the league.
Malkin is pretty good and controls the puck and makes plays. Its different talents. You got to adapt. We played him good and didnt give him much time with the puck.
Laviolette said that Stamkos, who has 52 goals, draws every teams attention.
Most definitely on the power play where he sets up and his shot and his ability to score, he said.
Voracek seemed primed for the challenge.
Every team has a No. 1 dangerous line and we know Stamkos is the best goal scorer in the league, Voracek said. He has a heavy shot and he knows how to score around the net. We played against Malkin and Alex Ovechkin and did a pretty good job.
The best defense to play against them is to play in the defensive zone. If we play in their zone and keep them away from our net, that is the best thing to do.
Voracek has not played against Stamkos in a head-to-head matchup. Hes very different than Malkin, who is sneakily dirty at times with his stick, as we saw when Pittsburgh was here recently.
Everybody is a bit dirty, Voracek said. Peter Forsberg, he was a little dirty, too. He had that little bit of attitude. I think its that attitude that helps you be one of the best players in the league.
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