Putting the puck in the net is not just coming from the big guns in the lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning. They’re getting the scoring from just about everyone and on Sunday night, in front of sell-out crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum the Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 as five different players put the puck in the basket.
Teddy Purcell and Vincent Lecavalier each scored power-play goals, Martin St. Louis added four assists and Anders Lindback (3-1-0, .911 SV %, 3.00 GAA) stopped 24 of 25 shots as the Bolts continued their home-ice dominance with the victory to extend their winning streak to three. Eric Brewer, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Bolts.
“We’re spreading the offense pretty good right now,” Steven Stamkos said. “We’re not forcing things to certain players. We’re making the right play.”
Philadelphia had entered the game fresh off a 7-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night in South Florida along with a two game winning streak.
“They had a step on us,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “They were a more rested team with better jump tonight than we were. We had moments and opportunities where we could have scored, but when you play tight defensive teams, it takes a lot of energy to try and create offense. We didn’t generate enough.”
Sean Couturier scored Philadelphia’s only goal of the night, beating Lindback just 59 seconds into the game on a corner shot that trickled in-between Lindback’s skate and the post.
“I was just turning my foot,” Lindback said. “It happens and when it happens you just have to let it go and move on. We battled back and showed a lot of character.”
“I’m sure Lindy [Lindback] 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.”
Rebound they did and were certainly sparked by Vincent Lecavalier’s first major penalty since February 3, 2009. Lecavalier dropped the gloves and exchanged blows with Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn that resulted in both players earning five-minute majors at 5:09 of the opening period.
Teddy Purcell put the Bolts on the board at 14:34 of the opening period coming on the power-play. Left alone and unchecked, Purcell drilled the puck past Flyers goalie Michael Leighton for his first score of the season. Purcell would later assist on goals from Eric Brewer and Steven Stamkos for a three point night.
Eric Brewer would score just over a minute later to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead with a slap shot from above the right circle that beat Leighton at 16:10. The goal was his third on just his fourth shot-on-goal this season.
The Lightning would click on the power-play again as Vincent Lecavalier beat Leighton up high with a one-timer from the right circle at 18:55 to put the Bolts up 3-1 as the team’s headed into intermission.
“He’s our leader [Lecavalier] 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.”
Through the Lightning’s first four games, their play in the second period has been dreadful as they’ve been outscored 10-3. This game though was different as neither team scored with the Lightning holding the Flyers in check despite being outshot 11-5.
“We have great character on this team. As a team we just kept rolling on. Coming into the second period, we know we had been struggling but we just played solid. There is still stuff we can improve but overall, it’s just a 60-minute game,” said Bolts defenseman Victor Hedman.
The Lightning wasted little time lighting the lamp as Victor Hedman scored at the 58-second mark of the final frame when he tapped in the rebound off of Adam Hall’s shot.
Steven Stamkos would add his third goal of the season and the Bolts fifth and final goal of the night with just over seven minutes left in the game beating Leighton from in front of the crease.
There were numerous keys to the game for the Lightning but the key stat had to be their shot blocking, followed by their penalty-kill and power-play.
The Lightning had a season-high 26 blocked shots, which ties their season-high from last season also coming against Philadelphia. Twelve different players were credited with at least one each with Brewer and Hedman leading the way with four each.
The Bolts held the Flyers scoreless on the power-play (0-for-6) which was the first time this season that they hadn’t allowed a power-play goal. During a four-minute Flyer power-play in the first period, the Lightning held them to just one quality scoring chance.
As for the Bolts power-play, they scored on their first two chances, finishing the night two-for-five and has now scored with the extra man advantage in four of their five games.
“It was huge. I mean guys are doing a great job, you know penalty killing, power play and overall we played a 60 minute game,” Lecavalier said. We didn’t have that second period letdown that we had in the last few games.”
Meanwhile, Martin St. Louis keeps on ticking despite his age (37), which as we all know is only a number.
With his four assists, it marked the first time that a player on any team recorded four or more assists in a game against the Flyers since St. Louis himself set his single-game career high with five assists in the Bolt’s 8-7 win back on November 18, 2010. St. Louis now has three goals and eight assists in five games this season.
“We’ve got some quality players, said Lightning Coach Guy Boucher. Players who want to win and improve this team but it took a long time to get that implemented into the culture of the team.”
Hot off the press
Martin St. Louis has been named the third star of the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 27 (and including the opening two days of the season, Jan. 19-20). St. Louis joins first star honoree left-winger Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks and second star honoree Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.
St. Louis tied for second in the NHL with eight assists and ranked third with 11 points. He scored two goals, including the game-winner, and added an assist in a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals Jan. 19 and recorded a goal and an assist in a 4-3 defeat at the New York Islanders Jan. 21. St. Louis then picked up two helpers in a 6-4 victory against the Ottawa Senators Jan. 25 and closed the week with four assists over the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 27 in the Bolts 5-1 win.
Lightning Nutz and Boltz
- Steven Stamkos extended his point streak to five games with his first period assist against the Flyers.
- With an assist on Hedman’s third period goal, Sami Salo now has a three-game point streak. Additionally, Salo leads all skaters with a plus/minus rating of +9.
- The Lightning outshot their opponent for the first time this season 26-25.
- The Lightning had a season-high 26 blocked shots tonight, which ties their season-high from last season also coming against Philadelphia.
- With five goals tonight, the Lightning lead the NHL with 24 goals scored.
The Week Ahead
The Lightning continue with their season-high five-game home stand with three games hosting divisional foes Florida Panthers on Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Winnipeg Jets on Friday, Feb. 1 and conclude the week facing-off against the New York Rangers on Saturday, Feb. 2.
For more info: Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers
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