TAMPA, Fla. – Jussi Jokinen started his two-point night by scoring 31 seconds into the contest, but a pair of goals by Jeff Carter made the difference on Thursday night. As the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a set of back-to-back road games, the team dropped a rare decision against the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2.
Michel Ouellet added the second Lightning goal as the club fell at Philadelphia for the first time in four seasons.
Opening the scoring with his first goal in a Tampa Bay uniform, Jokinen gave the Lightning the early lead with his 15th goal of the season. Dan Boyle started the play by making a centering pass to Martin St. Louis after carrying the puck behind the net. St. Louis forwarded a pass that deflected on its way through the crease, allowing Jokinen to pop a shot into the left side of the net as Martin Biron dove across the goal line.
As the Lightning continued to pressure the Flyers, Jokinen later snapped a shot on goal from deep in the zone. Biron held off the attempt with a pad save before covering a shot by Nick Tarnasky. The Tampa Bay winger skated to the front of the net off the side boards, but Biron stopped the low shot.
Late in the first Philadelphia scored a pair of goals in less than two minutes, coming back to take the lead.
Notching his 23rd goal of the season, Daniel Briere tied the game at one with a little more than five minutes remaining in the frame. Converting a feed to the slot by R.J. Umberger, Briere wristed a shot to the against netminder Mike Smith.
At 16:40 of the period, Carter added to Briere’s goal to give the Flyers their first lead of the night. After picking off the puck against the left boards at the blue line Carter skated down the left wing. Carter held on for a backhanded shot as he approached the net, putting the puck into the top left corner.
As the Lightning worked to tie the game, Shane O’Brien fired a slapshot that Biron blocked. Vincent Lecavalier carried the rebound around the net, and although his shot got through the players in front of the crease the puck went wide. Biron later held on to an open wrist-shot attempt by Lecavalier from the right wing circle.
Connecting at 8:18 of the second, Ouellet scored his 11th goal of the season to tie the game at two. Firing a shot off a give-and-go play with Jokinen, Ouellet snapped the puck to the left of Biron.
Ouellet has recorded points in five of his previous six games, including goals in four of those match-ups. The Lightning winger has recorded four goals and two assists during the stretch.
As the club skated with the man-advantage during the second period, Smith denied a pair of strong chances by the Flyers. After smothering a shot by Carter from the left hash marks, Smith made a big glove save when Jaroslav Modry fired a one-time shot from the point off a pass by Randy Jones.
With the period winding down, it was Smith who started an offensive rush by sending an outlet pass to Jeff Halpern at the far blue line. Halpern skated down the wing, stopped and spun around Jones before putting a shot towards the net. Darche got the puck and tried to put a shot to the five-hole, but Biron closed his pads for the save.
In the third the Flyers pressured Smith at the expiration of a power play. Although a shot by Jones deflected wide of the net, Smith denied a shot from the point by Modry before holding off Carter as he dug for the puck and a rebound attempt.
Smith went on to hold off a right-point slap shot by Briere with a right pad save, and moments later stretched for a stick save against Kimmo Timonen.
Despite the saves, Carter posted his second goal of the night with 1:54 remaining in game to lift Philadelphia to the win. Skating a circle to the point, Carter fired a shot through traffic that deflected in front of the net and went high to the glove side.
The goal was Carter’s 25th of the season, tying him with Mike Knuble for the team lead in scoring. The game stood as Carter’s seventh career multi-goal outing.
Smith made 22 saves in the contest as the Flyers out-shot the Lightning, 25-20. Biron posted the decision for Philadelphia with 18 saves.
Tampa Bay held Philadelphia scoreless through five power plays.
With the decision, the Lightning dropped their first game at Philadelphia since the 2002-03 season. Tampa Bay had won eight consecutive road games against the Flyers, out-scoring the club 33-15 during the stretch.
The Lightning fell to 7-3-2 overall in their previous 12 road games.
Continuing their three-game road trip, Tampa Bay travels to face the New Jersey Devils on Friday, March 7 (7:00p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE). The game marks the fourth and final meeting between the clubs this season.
Martin St. Louis
1 - 0 TBL
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PHI
2 - 2 Tie