Lightning Drop Overtime Decision To Flyers
Battle Back From Two Goal Deficit In Third
The penalty box was rarely empty as The Tampa Bay Lightning wrapped up their road trip with a tough loss in overtime to the Flyers tonight in Philadelphia, 4-3.
The Lightning had everything but the win in a hard fought, penalty strewed battle which saw a total of just over 23 minutes in power play time awarded in total.
The Lightning had most of the “firsts” in tonight’s contest, except on the scoreboard. Interim coach Rick Tocchet was behind the bench for his first game in Philadelphia, where he had appeared in 621 games as a member of the Flyers, Radek Smolenak, just called up from Norfolk, got the first shot of the game, a wraparound attempt that Flyer goalie Martin Biron stopped, Evgeny Artyukhin delivered the first hit of the game and Steve Downie
got the first penalty of the game, for tripping at 1:58.
Exactly one minute later, The Flyers got the first goal of the game, on the power play, when Jeff Carter blasted a shot past Lightning netminder Mike Smith
from the right faceoff circle.
The action was end-to-end throughout the first period; Martin St. Louis
broke in alone on Biron at the four minute mark but he was unable to generate a shot. The Flyers came right back on a 2 on 1 the other way but Smith was quick enough to stop Carter’s scoring attempt.
The Lightning picked up their first power play of the game at 10:18, when Flyer forward Glen Metropolit was sent off for holding, and they made it count when Mark Recchi, camped in his usual spot in front of the opposition crease, tapped in a pass from Jussi Jokinen for his sixth goal of the season to knot the score at 1-1. Vaclav Prospal also received an assist.
Before the period came to a close, Smolenak went toe to toe with Flyer forward Arron Asham and Scottie Upshall earned a game misconduct for boarding Artyukhin from behind. The Upshall penalty resulted in a five minute power play for Tampa Bay, which carried over into the second period, but which the Lightning were unable to capitalize on.
The story of period two was of more infractions as the march to the penalty box continued, but neither squad could convert their extra man chances into scores.
produced the best opportunity of the period for Tampa Bay when his quick snapshot rang the post with three minutes remaining.
The Lightning closed out the period with a 28 to 22 shot advantage and they were winning the battles along the boards for every loose puck.
The third period began as the second ended, with Flyer Luca Sbisa in the box serving the remainder of a tripping penalty. Philadelphia, which came into the night leading the NHL in shorthanded goals with eight, demonstrated their talent when skating a man shy as Mike Richards converted a 2 on 1 opportunity with a shot past Smith from point blank range, just 36 seconds into the final stanza. The goal put the Flyers in the lead 2-1.
Just four minutes later, Philadelphia stretched the lead to 3-1 as Carter collected his second goal of the evening and second power play score, while Arttukhin was off the ice for interference.
With just over 15 minutes remaining in regulation and down by two goals, it was time for Tampa Bay to get back in the contest. 21 seconds after Carter built a two goal lead for Philadelphia, the Lightning began to tear it down with a power play goal of their own, the second of the night for Tampa Bay. A slapshot from the blueline was deflected high in the air and landed behind Biron and in the net for Vaclav Prospal’s fifth goal of the season and second point of the night. St. Louis and Steve Eminger assisted on the score.
The Lightning pressed the attack and came all the way back to tie the score when Stamkos skated the puck into the Flyer zone, dropped a pass for Smolenak who fired from the blueline. Biron made the save, but Steve Downie
charged the net and popped the rebound into the Flyer net. The score was Downie’s first of the season.
With 17 seconds remaining in regulation, Ryan Malone
broke free and as he bore down on Biron, Scott Hartnell, in pursuit, tossed a glove. The result was a penalty shot for Malone, his second of the season, and with it a chance to complete the comeback and defeat the Flyers in regulation time. Malone who had scored on his previous penalty shot opportunity on November 23rd against the Devils, was unable to convert this time, as Biron whipped his right pad out to make the save.
As the game headed to the 4-on-4 overtime period, Malone, who almost won the battle with seconds to play in the third period, suffered a reversal of fortune when he was called for goaltender interference just 1:24 seconds in.
As Malone sat in the box serving the final penalty of the evening, Mike Richards put an end to the contest with his second goal of the night.
, as usual, was outstanding, finishing with 28 saves on 32 shots while Biron stopped 35 of 38 shots. The Lightning shooters were led by recent arrival Smolenak, who had six shots on net.
After battling back from a two-goal deficit in the third period, the Lightning will take the point earned, pack their bags one more time and head for home, where the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins come to call on Thursday night.
|Three star selections