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Flyers Explode in Third Period as They Blow Out Lightning, 6-2

(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers scored 6 goals for the second consecutive game, but this time around they were able to hold on for the victory as they took down the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-2.

Bobby Brink opened the scoring just 2:22 into the game before Nick Paul tied things up early in the second period, setting the stage for a big third period. The Flyers exploded for 5 goals, including 3 straight in a span of 6:01 courtesy of Tyson Foerster, Travis Sanheim, and Sean Walker.

Steven Stamkos brought the Lightning back to within two, but then empty net goals from Noah Cates and Cam York iced the victory for the Flyers. Samuel Ersson kept his composure between the pipes with 21 stops while Andrei Vasilevskiy struggled in the third and finished the game with 4 goals allowed on 27 shots.

Reeling off a disappointing weekend that saw the club drop both divisional games and some breathing room in their surprising playoff push, the Flyers welcomed a Lightning team that has gotten the better of them time and time again in recent memory. Rasmus Ristolainen was placed on IR, Jamie Drysdale is out on a week-to-week basis, Travis Konecny remained out of the lineup for the third straight game, and Bobby Brink was recalled.

The bigger news might be that Cam Atkinson was made a healthy scratch as the veteran continued to struggle as he was mired in an 11-game point drought and sports a -20 rating on the season. The lines got put in the blender this morning with Owen Tippett, Scott Laughton, and Tyson Foerster representing one trio, Brink placed on the wing with Joel Farabee, and Morgan Frost, and Sean Couturier centering the “fourth line” with Nicolas Deslauriers and Olle Lycksell as his wings. Samuel Ersson returned between the pipes in a not-so-surprising-move.

As for the Lightning, they’d downed the Flyers in 13 of their previous 15 meetings, including 6 of the last 7. The veteran-laden club has struggled a little this season – compared to previous years – but they still remain in the playoff hunt and were riding a 2-game winning streak entering tonight. Nikita Kucherov not only led the team in points but he’s atop the NHL with a blistering 102 in just 59 games. He was followed by the usual suspects in Brayden Point (62), Victor Hedman (59), Brandon Hagel (58), and Steven Stamkos (50).

Andrei Vasilevskiy returned between the pipes, looking to improve on his 20-14-0 record, 2.95 GAA, and .897 SV% – a far cry from his career numbers. However he held a 13-3-0 record, .929 SV%, and 2.29 GAA in 17 career games against the Orange and Black.


As one would have expected, it was Bobby Brink that opened the scoring at the 2:22 mark after he ripped a hard snap shot off the rush past Andrei Vasilevskiy. It started from the defensive end after Marc Staal chipped the puck towards Morgan Frost in the neutral zone, and he caught it and set up Brink, who made a bee-line towards the open ice.

The Flyers’ momentum was somewhat quelled by a power outage that ran through the Wells Fargo Center. After a lengthy conversation, they returned to the ice with half the stadium dimly lit and monitors and speakers not working at full strength.

Owen Tippett was given a ticky-tack delay of game minor with 4:10 remaining in the period. The Lightning essentially spent the first 1:55 camped in the offensive but a lot of their one-time blasts went high and wide, but the ever-present danger was on full display with how vaunted their top unit is. Fortunately, the Flyers survived to tell the tale with Samuel Ersson making one save – but a big one – on Brayden Point.

The period came to an end with an unofficial shot count of 4-4 between the two clubs but the Flyers holding the all-important 1-0 lead.


3:15 into the period, the Flyers were handed a too many men on the ice minor, sending the dangerous top unit onto the ice for the second time tonight. Fortunately, it only lasted 26 seconds as Anthony Cirelli headed towards the sin bin or a tripping minor against Nick Seeler.

At the 4:35 mark and still playing 4-on-4 hockey, Nick Paul ripped a seed of a shot in the slot past Ersson after he slipped past Tippett. Brandon Hagel did a fantastic job at keeping the puck in the zone before finding Paul for the primary assist on his 17th goal of the season.

With 4:04 left to play in the period, Hagel was assessed a slashing minor against Ryan Poehling. The Flyers had puck possession and were zipping passes along the boards, but didn’t test Vasilevskiy all that much. The period eventually came to a close with both teams tied at one goal apiece and the Lightning up on shots, 14-11.


Taking a page out of Tippett’s playbook, Tyson Foerster backhanded a shot short-side on Vasilevskiy after making a move with the puck through his legs, just 54 seconds into the period. It was his 5th goal in his last 5 games, 4th goal in his last 3 games, and his 14th of the season to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

At the 3:08 mark, the Flyers doubled their lead after Travis Sanheim ripped a hard shot top-shelf past a screened Vasilevskiy for his 2nd goal in as many games and 4th in his last 6. Noah Cates found the streaking Sanheim, who wired the shot with Emil Martinsen Lilleberg blocking Vasilevskiy’s view on his 8th of the year. The goal also gave him 35 points, tying his career-high that he set back in 2018-19.

Then 3:47 later, the Flyers added another goal off the rush and high over Vasilevskiy’s blocker courtesy of Sean Walker and his career-high 6th of the season. Upon entering the zone, Joel Farabee found Walker, who was streaking into a dangerous area with no Lightning jerseys around him before getting his shot off with Victor Hedman attempting to close in on the defenseman.

The Lightning pulled their goaltender with about nine minutes left to play, taking a page out Patrick Roy’s book in an attempt to claw their way back into the game. After about 5 icings and 3.5 minutes of offensive zone time, the Lightning cut the Flyers’ lead to two with 5:26 remaining after Steven Stamkos ripped a one-timer past Ersson that deflected off of Walker and in.

Vasilevskiy made a very bad read as he raced towards the bench with Nikita Kucherov trying to traverse the neutral zone but as Poehling stopped his attempt, Vasilevskiy was caught in no man’s land as Noah Cates corralled the puck and fired it into the empty net for his 3rd goal of the season and first in 9 games.

Vasilevskiy was pulled for a third time with about 2:30 left to play and the Flyers scored their second empty netter after Cam York’s long-range flip attempt bounced and then rolled into the open cage at the 17:42 mark. The goal was his 8th of the season and 21st point, which set a new-career high after he reached 20 last year in 54 games. Sanheim received an assist on the play as he also reached a new career-high in points with 36.

Lilleberg was then assessed a tripping minor with 1:52 remaining in regulation, but that was all she wrote for this one as the Flyers secured two massive points with the Washington Capitals having lost 8-3 to Detroit and the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins dropping the puck to their respective games after 10:00pm.


The Flyers kick off another back to back set on Friday on the road in a huge divisional matchup against the Washington Capitals (7:00pm ET, NBCSP).

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