PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Flyers may have come within striking distance during the seven goals that were exchanged in the second period, but when the dust finally settled, the Tampa Bay Lightning came out on top in a 6-3 winning effort Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
"Every time the Flyers made that push we answered," head coach Jon Cooper said. "That can kind of pop the balloon for a team."
Anders Lindback also had the performance he needed to collect back some of the confidence he may have lost since assuming the starting duties in net with fellow goaltender Ben Bishop on injured reserve.
Facing no more than 25 shots during his past three contests, Lindback not only denied the Flyers on 15 shots in the first, but a combined 38 throughout the game, which was a season-high for the netminder.
"He was arguably the best player in today's game," Cooper said. "For all the bad breaks he received, today the game went his way."
With the lone goal in the first coming from Alex Killorn, Lindback bailed the team out, as they survived nearly two minutes of a Flyers' 5-on-3 opportunity.
"You can say whatever you want about today's plus-6, but Carle was outstanding in front of the net on the 5-on-3 as well," Cooper said.
Yet it was a completely different game in the second period with a total of seven goals scored in the middle frame. First the Bolts jumped ahead to a two-goal lead after Teddy Purcell scored his first goal in 10 games, but Jakub Voracek immediately sliced the lead in half for a 2-1 game at 6:44.
Again the Lightning quickly responded as Nate Thompson and Ryan Malone led a 2-on-1 into the offensive zone. Thompson avoided a Philadelphia block and sent a pass to Malone, who scored on a wrister for a two-goal lead.
Wayne Simmonds' power-play goal three and a half minutes later came off of a Claude Giroux rebound, followed by Voracek's second marker of the game to tie the game at three with five and a half remaining in the period.
Valtteri Filppula and Martin St. Louis then put Tampa Bay ahead by two again before the frame's conclusion. Filppula backhanded Killorn's initial shot at 15:41, before Tyler Johnson sent a cross-ice pass to St. Louis, who sent it home for a 5-3 game after 40.
St. Louis' 20th goal of the season was the 10th time in his career that he has managed the feat. It was also the first time this season the Bolts scored four goals in a single period.
Philly used their physicality in the final period causing a minor scare for Johnson, who skated crouched over to the bench in pain after taking a slash across his body, but he remained in the game. Victor Hedman was also leveled by Scott Hartnell's shoulder-to-the-head hit. Hedman immediately threw his helmet and stick down in disgust and exited the game. Hartnell was given a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head.
The Lightning nursed a 5-3 lead through the majority of the third before Malone's empty-net insurance goal at 18:12, while the Flyers attempted six attackers on the ice during the final two minutes of play. Malone's second tally of the game solidified their seventh road win in their past eight away from the Tampa Bay Times Forum. It also snapped the Flyers' 10-game home winning streak.
UP NEXT – Tampa Bay heads to Columbus this afternoon and will exercise a day off tomorrow, before back-to-back matchups against the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers Monday and Tuesday. They will then head home for games at the Times Forum against the New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks Thursday and Saturday.