TAMPA – Despite diving deeper into the depth chart, the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to chip away in the standings. And although both Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell snapped out of personal slumps Monday, it was Victor Hedman and Anders Lindback’s show Wednesday, in a 4-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hedman’s second goal of the game, which ended up being the game-winner, helped him record a new personal best in career goals in a season with six.
“He was the best player on the ice, no question,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “He had his legs moving today, he had jump, he was engaged and when he’s like that, he puts himself in the upper echelon of defensemen.”
“When you’re in a flow, it seems like the puck goes in the net every time,” Hedman said. “I need to keep believing in myself and playing hockey and things are going to come.”
Lindback recorded his second win of the season in the Lightning’s seventh consecutive victory at home. Tampa Bay held the Flyers to a season-low 21 shots on goal (tie).
“It’s a big win for us and myself too,” Lindback said. “I didn’t play that long ago either, so that was a good thing and like they say, it’s always nice to get a win.”
The Lightning did not play their cleanest hockey in the first period, but still dominated play. Leaving the score at zero after 20. The one close call of the period came after Hedman was questionably called for hooking on a breakaway the granting Wayne Simmonds a penalty shot. Lindback did not budge on two of Simmonds’ moves though, stopping the puck with his right leg pad.
“I don’t know about the call there, but then I just read him right and he didn’t elevate the puck, so I was able to get my pad down there,” Lindback said.
Hedman immediately negated his mistake in the second period, knotting a goal and adding an assist to help put the Bolts ahead 2-0. Taking a whack at a hard-angled shot from the left corner of the Flyers’ zone, the puck found its way behind Philadelphia netminder Ray Emery for a 1-0 lead at 9:15 of the first. The tally matched his career-high five goals in a season set in the 2011-12 campaign.
Then orchestrating a 2-on-1 rush, Hedman took a shot at the Flyers’ netminder, which bounced off his pads and onto Ondrej Palat’s stick. Palat was positioned perfectly to beat Emery into the cage and knotted the second goal of the game, shorthanded, at 12:16.
At 5:00 of the third Hedman put the team ahead 3-0. With 1:31 of power-play time, the Bolts were hesitant to take shots on net, but soon saw what taking shots can lead to. Teddy Purcell took a go at Emery first and Hedman then cashed in on the rebound. Purcell now has four points in his past two games.
With 1:13 remaining in regulation it got a little close for comfort when the Flyers scored two goals in a span of 40 seconds to bring them within one. Vincent Lecavalier scored the one-timer on the power-play at 1:53 and Mark Streit followed suit with his first goal of the season.
“They came back with a power-play goal and gained some momentum off that then it was a 3-2 game, I have to learn from that,” Lindback said. “It’s not over anytime. You have to be able to manage.”
However with Philadelphia’s goalie pulled and six Flyers’ attackers on the ice, Tyler Johnson got a hold of a loose puck and knotted the empty-net insurance goal for a 4-2 game with 33.4 seconds remaining.
UP NEXT – The Bolts will practice at the Times Forum on Thursday in preparation for a 4 p.m. contest against the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins Friday at home. The Lightning will then hit the road for a game in Columbus versus the Blue Jackets to open their December slate, before returning to Tampa Bay for two games later that week.