Lightning Zapped By Flyers, 6-1
Home Win Streak Halted
There was fighting, breakaways, a penalty shot, a cornucopia of infractions, delays, shorthanded opportunities, spectacular saves, controversy and goals – but unfortunately for the Lightning, there were not enough goals, as they fell to the Flyers tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, 6-1.
Pre-Super bowl celebrations outside the Forum gave the area a carnival-like atmosphere, while inside, the game between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia sometimes appeared to be a circus.
Collectively there were 60 minutes of penalties whistled, resulting in nine power plays, including 1:40 of a 5-on-3 advantage and 21 shots with the extra attacker for the Lightning, while the Flyers had five power plays during which they produced only two shots on net. The results, however, were identical, as both teams connected for one power play goal each.
The Flyers opened the scoring at 7:03 of the first period when Flyer forward Mike Richards collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in alone on Mike Smith
, starting his seventh consecutive game in goal for Tampa Bay. Richards wound up for a slapshot but never uncorked it. Instead he pulled the puck back and deked past the goaltender for his 17th goal of the season.
The Lightning, skating with the man advantage, pulled even before the period ended when Vaclav Prospal found open ice and walked the puck into the faceoff circle to Flyer netminder Antero Nittymaki’s left. His slapshot caught the post, and then the twine, for his 13th goal of the season. Paul Ranger was credited with an assist on the score.
With only 37.1 seconds remaining in the opening period, it appeared the Lightning had gained the lead when the puck deflected off Mark Recchi and into the Flyer net. Although the officials signaled a score, the call was reversed after an extended video review ruled that Recchi had intentionally kicked the puck into the goal.
“They made the wrong call,” Recchi said. “If you look at it in fast motion, there’s no way I can react to that puck.”
At 8:05 of the second period, with Steve Eminger off the ice for tripping, Philadelphia cashed in its power play goal for the contest as defenseman Randy Jones
slipped unnoticed through the slot, took a cross-ice pass from Richards and one-timed the puck into the net to Smith’s right.
The Flyers weren’t finished yet, picking up another goal before the second period came to a close at 14:41 when a shot by MikeRichards weaved through skates and sticks and found the back of the net, giving Richards his second goal of the contest and the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 20 minutes of hockey remaining to be played.
Early in the third period, Martin St. Louis
was hooked from behind as he broke in alone on Nittymaki while the Lightning were skating shorthanded. The ensuing penalty shot St. Louis was awarded missed as he flipped the puck high over the net. For St. Louis, the attempt was his third career penalty shot, all unsuccessful.
The Lightning had their second goal of the game waved off moments later when the officials, on-ice and off, ruled that Steven Stamkos
batted the puck into the net with a high stick.
“I believe 100% it was below (the crossbar),” Stamkos said. “I thought it was a goal. Our whole team thought it was a goal.”
But it was no-goal, and after the call, the second disallowed goal of the game, the wheels appeared to come off the Lightning’s bus, as the Flyers pulled away. Fifty-three seconds after the goal was waved off, Flyer forward Jeff Carter collected his 31st goal of the season when his shot from the blueline eluded Smith.
Philadelphia would pick up two more unanswered goals before the game ended, one from Scott Hartnell at 10:47 and the final goal, again by Carter, unassisted at 13:08.
The Lightning outshot the Flyers, 42-32, and Martin St. Louis
had nine of those shots, which tied his career high and tied the most shots on goal by a Lightning player this season.
Tampa Bay will have a few days to put this loss behind them as they travel to Long Island to face the Islanders on Tuesday.
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