The National Hockey League might want to consider issuing a league-wide memorandum to each of the other 29 teams, suggesting this:
Don’t bring a winning streak into the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Vincent Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell each scored power-play goals, and Anders Lindback turned aside 24 of 25 shots, as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,204 on Sunday night.
The win was Tampa Bay’s third straight, while the Flyers saw their two-game win streak come to an end.
It was the second opposing win streak of at least two games snapped by the Lightning thus far on the team’s season-high five-game homestand, as Tampa Bay also defeated Ottawa, winners of three straight, at the Times Forum on Friday.
“It was huge,” Lecavalier said. “Guys are doing a great job and overall we played a 60-minute game. We’ve been playing some good hockey, but tonight was 60 minutes.”
Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer had the other goals for Tampa Bay, now 4-1-0 on the season, including 3-0-0 on home ice. Martin St. Louis added four assists, coming one shy of tying a single-game career high.
The Lightning now have scored five goals or more in each of their wins on the season at the Times Forum.
“We definitely shot the puck a lot and threw stuff towards the net,” Hedman said.
Sean Couturier scored Philadelphia’s only goal of the night, beating Lindback just 59 seconds into the game on a soft wrist shot.
“I’m sure Lindy would have loved to have that one back,” Stamkos said. “It wasn’t a defensive breakdown or anything, it was just a shot from the corner, but we were able to rebound.”
That they did, scoring five times unanswered beginning late in the opening frame.
With the game already off to a chippy start that included a fight between Lecavalier and Luke Schenn, and with Tampa Bay successfully killing off a triple-minor penalty to BJ Crombeen, the Lightning took advantage of Philadelphia’s own parade to the box at 14:34 of the first.
With Wayne Simmonds off for two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, Purcell evened things up while on the power play with a wrist shot that beat Michael Leighton to tie it 1-1.
Brewer then gave Tampa Bay its first lead of the game with 3:50 left in the opening period, before Lecavalier cashed in on another opportunity with the man advantage just 2:45 later, beating Leighton up high with a one-timer from the right circle to put the Lightning up 3-1 heading into the intermission.
“He’s our leader and he’s showing us why,” Stamkos said of Lecavalier. “He’s using his body, rushing on the forecheck, coming back on the backcheck, and we’re following in his footsteps.”
Leighton made 21 saves in a game that included a total of 26 penalty minutes in the opening period alone.
A pair of third-period goals by Hedman and Stamkos increased the lead to four, capping the game’s scoring at 12:29.
“We’ve got some quality players,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “Players who want to win and improve this team.”