LIGHTNING FALL TO FLYERS
TAMPA, Fla. – Closing out a two-game home stand, the Tampa Bay Lightning hosted the Philadelphia Flyers at the St. Pete Times Forum for the second and final time this season. Led by Joffrey Lupul’s three point effort, the Flyers skated to a 4-2 victory.
Lupul posted one goal and two assists for Philadelphia, while Vincent Lecavalier
and Vaclav Prospal got on the board for Tampa Bay.
|Nick Tarnasky (74) battles with the Philadelphia Flyers Mike Richards during the second period of the Lightning's 4-2 loss on Saturday. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Andre Roy and Riley Cote opened the contest with an early fight, exchanging punches less than three minutes into the first period. Going toe-to-toe with Cote for the second time this season, Roy dumped the Flyers winger to the ice to end his seventh fight of the year.
Less than five minutes later Lupul scored on a penalty shot to give Philadelphia the early lead. Skating down the ice Lupul flicked a wrist shot from the bottom of the slot. Goaltender Karri Ramo got a piece of the attempt, but the puck slipped through the five hole for the score.
As the Lightning tried to tie the game, Chris Gratton looked to feed Brad Richards with a pass through the bottom of the slot in front of Flyers goalie Martin Biron. Richards was unable to get his stick on the pass to the right of the net for the shot.
Biron later stopped a Lecavalier shot from the right faceoff circle and a point-blank shot by Gratton in front of the net before the Lightning tied the game at one.
Netting his team-leading 26th goal of the season, Lecavalier converted a cross-ice pass by Martin St. Louis
. Leaning into a one-timer shot from the right faceoff dot, Lecavalier beat Biron low to the glove side for the score.
Lecavalier continues to lead the NHL in scoring with 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists) this season. The Lightning center has recorded 20 or more goals in each of the previous eight seasons.
Early in the second Tampa Bay aimed to gain the lead when Mathieu Darche dropped a pass back to Paul Ranger on an odd-man rush. Ranger put a shot on goal from the slot and Darche looked to bang in the rebound at the side of the crease, but Biron covered the puck for the save.
With less than one minute remaining in the period Mike Knuble converted a Philadelphia power play to give his team a one-goal lead. After Jeff Carter threw the puck on net, Knuble jammed at the puck as he, Mike Richards and Lupul crowded the crease. The puck slipped past Ramo for the score.
During the frame Biron stood tall for the Flyers, holding off a Filip Kuba shot through traffic and a chance by St. Louis from the right faceoff circle.
Less than one minute into the third Scott Hartnell posted the eventual game-winner on a Flyers power play. Deflecting Braydon Coburn’s shot from the right point, Hartnell directed the puck under Ramo’s left leg for the score.
Kimmo Timonen later added his fifth goal of the season to give the Flyers a three-goal lead. After RJ Umberger made a cross-ice pass to Daniel Briere at the left faceoff circle, the Philadelphia center put a wrist shot on Ramo. The shot slipped past the Lightning netminder into the crease where Timonen popped the loose puck into the open side of the net.
Cutting the Philadelphia lead in half Prospal posted his 17th goal of the season with 11:52 remaining in the game. As Lecavalier created a screen in front of the net, Doug Janik fired a shot from the right point. Prospal knocked the puck down and between Biron’s pads on the play.
Although St. Louis put a solid shot on Biron late in the period, swatting at the puck from his knees at the top of the crease, the Flyers held off the Lightning through the remainder of the game.
St. Louis finished the game with two assists. Through 23 career games against Philadelphia, the Tampa Bay winger has recorded 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists).
Ramo made 18 saves in the contest as Tampa Bay out-shot Philadelphia 33-22 on the night. Darche and Prospal led all skaters with five shots each.
The win marked only the second Philadelphia victory against Tampa Bay in the previous 14 meetings between the teams.
Dating back to the 2003-04 season, the Lightning have posted a 12-2-0 record against the Flyers. Tampa Bay has out-scored Philadelphia 61-31 during that stretch.
Following the contest the Lightning prepare for their longest road trip of the season, a four-game jaunt that will take the club across Eastern Canada and New York. Tampa Bay opens the new calendar year with a match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, January 1 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE).
|Three star selections
||MARTIN ST. LOUIS