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Philadelphia Flyers try stalling to draw Tampa Bay Lightning out of defensive scheme

TAMPA — It seemed like an odd strategy for the Flyers, the league's highest scoring team, to stall several times in a scoreless first period Wednesday night.

Philadelphia players held the puck in their zone seven times in the first 20 minutes, with the longest stretch lasting 50 seconds, drawing ire from Lightning fans.

"We just wanted to hear the boos a little bit," RW Jaromir Jagr joked.

In reality, it was just one way the Flyers tried to beat the Lightning's 1-3-1 defensive system. But Tampa Bay wouldn't take the bait, waiting Philly out. As a result, the Flyers had just 15 shots (15 below their season average) against a team missing two of its top defensemen.

D Chris Pronger had more issue with the Lightning trap.

"Way to showcase the product, with the players they've got over there," Pronger quipped, according to ComcastSportsNet.com. "Would you pay to see that? I wouldn't, either."

After the first two stalling situations, one in which D Braydon Coburn stood still with the puck not even on his stick, referees blew the play dead, calling for a faceoff. Coach Peter Laviolette said the Flyers were told the puck needed to be moving.

"They have a set forecheck in the neutral zone, so we have a set breakout," Laviolette said. "As soon as we get some pressure, we'll get into our routes. … They should come after us. Otherwise, we can just stand there."

Flyers RW Matt Read felt the tactic "frustrated" Tampa Bay. But Lightning C Dominic Moore said otherwise, pointing out the Capitals tried it last year. "You can't blame anybody for trying different strategies to beat systems," Moore said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: Coach Guy Boucher said LW Ryan Malone (upper body) might be ready for the weekend. D Victor Hedman (upper body) will take longer, perhaps up to two weeks. And D Mattias Ohlund (knees), who has yet to play a regular-season game, "is not close."

Ohlund, who had arthroscopic surgeries on both knees, is skating on his own but lightly. GM Steve Yzerman has said Ohlund could be out up to two months.

LINE CHANGES: Steve Downie took Malone's place on the first power-play unit and on a line with C Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell.

RITOLA TO MODO: RW Mattias Ritola cleared waivers and had his Tampa Bay contract terminated. Reports out of Sweden also had him at least close to signing with Modo of the Swedish elite league.

Ritola, acquired in October 2010 off waivers from the Red Wings, slipped in the depth chart this season and played just five games with zero points. He refused to report to AHL Norfolk, saying he preferred to work his way back to the NHL playing in his home country.

"I think we have enough depth in the organization we'll be okay," Yzerman said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Pronger played for the first time since Oct. 24, when he was clipped near his right eye by an inadvertent stick blade. He is wearing a visor for the first time in his NHL career. … With just 20 healthy players, the Lightning had no scratches.

Philadelphia Flyers try stalling to draw Tampa Bay Lightning out of defensive scheme 11/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:19am]

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