The Tampa Bay Lightning forwards turned the tables on the NHL’s highest scoring team Tuesday night.They even got some help from their goaltender, too. Steven Stamkos had two goals, Martin St. Louis added a pair of assists, and Mathieu Garon stopped 31 of 32 shots to help the Lightning coast to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at the St. Pete Times Forum.
“It’s huge,” Stamkos said of the win. “We talked about it before the game, how we wanted to take away their time and space. I think we frustrated them a little bit, and it wasn’t the prettiest game we played, but we’ll take the win and hopefully this will start something good.”
Philadelphia entered the contest with a league-leading 119 goals scored on the year, but fell to 1-3-1 in its past five games.Bruno Gervais and Steve Downie each scored for the Lightning, who have now earned points in four of their past five games. Vincent Lecavalier also added a late goal in the third period for Tampa Bay.
The Flyers had their fair number of scoring opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize despite holding a 17-4 advantage in shots through the first 20 minutes, as well as a 12-4 margin in the third period.
“It was frustrating,” Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr said. “We didn’t score goals on our chances in the first period when we outshot them. It seems nothing went our way. Two weeks ago, everything went our way. That’s the business.”
Stamkos snapped a 1-1 tie after backhanding a rebound off Brett Clark’s initial shot from the point past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov just over seven minutes into the second frame.
Downie extended the Lightning lead to two just 4:16 later, converting a shot from Pavel Kubina that bounced off a skate, deflected off the end boards and right back to the Bolts forward who wristed one into an open cage.
Bryzgalov gave up Tampa Bay's first three goals on just eight shots.
“How can I describe it?” Bryzgalov said. “What do you think? We lose 5-1. How do you think I feel about my game? What do you think?”
Garon settled in after that, coming up with several highlight-reel stops that proved him worthy of earning the game’s First Star honors.Making his ninth consecutive start, the Lightning net minder made a spectacular left pad save on Hartnell’s breakaway attempt early in the period after denying both Matt Read and Danny Briere from in close. He also made an additional stop on a solid chance by Claude Giroux late in the game.
“Sometimes, as a goalie, you have to make one key save a game,” Garon said.
Garon has appeared in 14 of his team’s past 16 games and has seemingly supplanted Dwayne Roloson has the club’s primary goaltender.
“Their goalie played an outstanding game,” Bryzgalov added of his counterpart in net.
Philadelphia went almost 10 minutes without a shot in the second, finishing with a total of just three in the period.
Stamkos’ second of the night came on the power play with Flyers forward Maxime Talbot in the box for a two-minute boarding call and an additional infraction for unsportsmanlike conduct. Stamkos made the most of the chance, taking a cross-crease feed from Downie and lifting a shot above Bryzgalov’s pad for a 4-1 lead with 1:15 remaining in the second.
Lecavalier closed the scoring with his 12th of the year with one minute left in regulation.
Defenseman Victor Hedman left the game in the first with an upper-body injury and did not return.
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