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Flyers’ Penalty Killing Woes Allow Lightning to Snap 5-Game Losing Streak, Taken Down 5-2 in the Process

(Mike Carlson/Associated Press)

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s “worrisome” 5-game losing streak came to a screeching halt tonight as they took down the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 5-2.

Morgan Frost opened the scoring early in the first period before Alex Killorn scored his first power play goal of the year less than 2 minutes later. Tampa Bay then scored 3 more goals in the first half of the second period – Nikita Kucherov, Ross Colton, and Killorn again – before Brendan Lemieux deflected a Cam York shot for his 1st of the season and 1st as a Flyer to cut the deficit to 2. The Flyers had their chances in the third period, but Andrei Vasilevskiy shut the door whenever things got tough as he stopped 33 shots for his 29th win of the season.

Carter Hart did the best he could but was also guilty of a few miscues, including on the 4th goal when he fell behind the net which directly led to the goal – he made 34 saves on 39 shots. Tony DeAngelo was then assessed a game misconduct and a major penalty for spearing Corey Perry with 2:40 remaining in the third period, to which Kucherov scored his 2nd of the game and 3rd power play goal of the night to truly ice things. Joel Farabee and Travis Sanheim were benched the entirety of the second period after they were responsible for 3 penalties in the 1st period and eventually 2 goals. They returned and played over 7 minutes each in the third period.

The Philadelphia Flyers came into Amalie Arena on the heels of a 3-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings but had still lost 12 of their last 16 games. They went head to head with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who entered tonight’s game uncharacteristically having lost 5 straight games – something they avoided for 9 years – Jon Cooper benched his three best players in the third period of a game against Buffalo over the weekend, and were coming off the heels of a loss where they fired 14 shots on goal in a 6-0 drubbing against the Carolina Hurricanes, which included a second period with 0 of them their last time out. They still possess the firepower of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point – a trio that formed the first line tonight – and usually Victor Hedman aside from his lower-body injury, but things have hit a snag for the 3 time reigning Eastern Conference champions.

The Flyers were employing the 11/7 formation again with Justin Braun figuring in as the spare defenseman, whereas the forward lines remained intact from their last game against Detroit. Carter Hart received his 46th start of the season and was playing in his 47th game and he was going face to face with Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was taking part in his 48th game of the season, looking for his 29th win, and first since February 25th. Victor Hedman was ruled out for tonight’s game with an injury that has just been deemed as day-to-day. Fireworks were to be expected with newly acquired Tanner Jeannot yapping with Brendan Lemieux in the warmups, the Flyers leading the league with 31 fighting majors, and the Lightning are just behind them with 28.


5:52 into the first period, the Philadelphia Flyers opened the scoring after a turnover in the neutral zone. Owen Tippett made a spin-around move at centre ice to get the puck to Joel Farabee while falling onto the ice, the struggling forward then streaked down the wing – with a delayed penalty set to be called – before sending Morgan Frost a seed of a pass that he finished top-shelf past the blocker of Andrei Vasilevskiy for his 12th of the season.

1:08 later, Joel Farabee was called for a tripping minor, sending the 2nd-ranked Tampa Bay Lightning power play onto the ice for the first time in the game. 37 seconds into the man advantage, netfront presence Alex Killorn tied the game after finishing off a tic-tac-toe play from Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev for his 18th goal of the season and 1st of the power play variety at the 7:38 mark of the first period.

Ivan Provorov was caught in the middle of defending Killorn and Brayden Point and cheated a little towards the latter, while Hart slid a little too far in anticipation of a shot instead of the eventual pass to the crease.

The Lightning gained full control of the game after Killorn’s tying goal and it was evident that they had their skating legs going, they were placed firmly in the offensive zone, forcing turnovers, and jumping on the slow-footed, perplexed, and slow-acting Flyers.

With 5:28 remaining in the period, Steven Stamkos was tripped up by Travis Sanheim – who had a brutal shift with several turnovers – sending the vaunted Lightning power play back on the ice. The 30th-ranked road penalty kill just barely survived their second penalty in large part to Carter Hart’s 5 saves with the Lightning throwing everything including the kitchen sink.

With the period coming to an end, Joel Farabee took in exception for a hit he took a couple shifts prior from Brendan Hagel by taking a rather unnecessary boarding minor. The Lightning, who were still applying the pressure even after the expiration of the second penalty, had 21 seconds to work with before the final buzzer. They had 4 shot attempts, 2 of which reached Hart, 1 that went wide, and 1 that was blocked in just 20 seconds.

The Flyers entered the intermission tied at 1, were trailing in the shot department 15-7, and were being outshot 12-4 in the final 11 minutes of the period where the Lightning really flipped the ice in their favour.


It only took the Lightning 7 seconds to set up in the offensive zone and then 27 seconds later – 34 seconds into the period – Nikita Kucherov blasted a one-timer that was set up by Sergachev past Carter Hart for his 24th goal of the season, 25th multi point game on the year, and his 90th point.

Owen Tippett sagged back a little too much with the Lightning zipping passes to each other and as Kucherov teed up his shot, Tippett tried blocking it but to no avail as the Russian sharpshooter had all the time and space he needed to give the Lightning the lead. Sergachev and Killorn each recorded their second point of the game on the goal as well.

The Lightning were on a mission tonight and the shorthanded Flyers were going to be no match. 8:44 into the second period, the third line of Ross Colton, Nick Paul, and Tanner Jeannot worked hard behind the net and along the boards before Colton finished off the play in the crease with a tap-in the just rolled over the line and past Hart for a 3-1 lead.

Jeannot sent a pass from behind the net to Colton who was in front but had Nicolas Deslauriers, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Cam York to beat, which he did by out-muscling the the latter 2 defensemen to get the puck past Hart.

And as expected, especially with all 3 penalties being called on Sanheim and Farabee, they had not seen a shift to start the second period, so not only did they come into the game with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen, they played the second period with 10 forwards and 6 defensemen with both struggling players planted on the bench.

Alex Killorn added to the Flyers’ misery with 9:11 left after Carter Hart spilled behind the net, which allowed the Lightning to add to their lead by making it 4-1. The puck was dumped in harmlessly and as Hart went behind the net to catch it, he took a hard fall, and the Lightning jumped on the opportunity as Anthony Cirelli quickly got the puck to the front of the net to Killorn who finished it off with Ristolainen sort of bumping into Hart as he tried to position himself back into his crease.

With Sanheim planted on the bench, John Tortorella had Ristolainen and York paired up and they got exposed and beaten badly twice within 2 minutes and 3 seconds.

The Flyers tried crawling back into the game after Cam York rifled a shot over the glove of Vasilevskiy for his 2nd of the season with 7:20 remaining in the period. Ristolainen set him up from the opposite side of the point and he was given time and space to walk in before he fired a shot with Kevin Hayes and Brendan Lemieux standing in front of the goaltender.

At the conclusion of the second intermission, they changed the goal to Lemieux’s, who was awarded his 1st as a Flyer and 1st on the season in his 29th game – unfortunately for York that kept his 32 game goalless drought alive.

Then with a chance to cut the deficit back to 1, Steven Stamkos was called for a holding minor with 5:11 left, “gifting” the 32nd-ranked Flyers power play their first opportunity of the night. The Flyers were so widely spread out on the power play that the Lightning had no problem out-manning the white jerseys 4-2 at times. Anthony Cirelli had the best scoring chance between both teams as he came down the wing and fired a shot that was stopped by the pad of Hart 30 seconds into the man advantage.

The fourth line of the Lightning – Corey Perry, Patrick Maroon, and Mikey Eyssimont – cranked up the pressure after the expiration of Stamkos’ penalty and almost made it 5-2 after a wrap-around opportunity was just stopped by the pad of Hart. A scrum ensued after Hart had covered up by the Lightning were hacking away between Nick Seeler and Eyssimont. Then with 79 seconds remaining in the second period, Mikhail Sergachev was called for a high-sticking minor, sending the Flyers back to the power play.

The Flyers won both offensive zone draws, were firmly planted in the zone and actually creating chances for the first 75 seconds, while Rasmus Ristolainen provided a difficult net-front screen for Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the Flyers weren’t able to get the puck past the goaltender as they headed into the second intermission down 4-2 but had 41 seconds of power play time to start the third period.

After 40 minutes, Joel Farabee had seen 5:07 TOI, Sanheim had seen 5:15, Tanner Laczynski had seen 4:20, while Tippett paced both teams with 15:37 and Ristolainen led the Flyers’ back-end with 15:09.


The power play whiffed yet again, this time around Kevin Hayes should’ve drawn the ire of his head coach with a lazy shift, slowing down the play to a snail’s pace, and firing a shot right into the legs of a Lightning defender and not trying to backcheck or locate the puck. Travis Sanheim and Joel Farabee found themselves out of the doghouse to start the third period as well as they came out for a shift on the ensuing draw after the Sergachev penalty had expired.

With 14:14 remaining in regulation, James van Riemsdyk was called for a tripping minor – their third offensive zone penalty of the game. Fortunately for the Flyers, Alex Killorn was whistled down for a holding minor on Sanheim 54 seconds into the power play. Kevin Hayes had another tough power play with both of his shots being blocked and on his off-hand, mitigating a one-timer, which is usually an advantage on most power plays.

Late in the third period, the Flyers came inches away from cutting the deficit in half when Joel Farabee clanked one off the post, then Morgan Frost had a nifty breakaway chance that was gloved down, before James van Riemsdyk tried dancing his way into the blue paint rather than wiring a shot top shelf.

Another scrum ensued with Patrick Maroon and Tony DeAngelo getting involved with the referee having to hold back the latter who was absolutely heated. They assessed a major penalty on DeAngelo for spearing Corey Perry, which is why all 5 Lightning players jumped in.

It was incredibly unnecessary and right in front of the referee who saw it clear as day. After a lengthy review, DeAngelo was assessed a 5 minute major and game misconduct for spearing with 2:40 remaining.

All it took was 17 seconds for the Lightning to strike, as Nikita Kucherov walked around Ristolainen and found himself all alone on Carter Hart before depositing the puck through the five-hole for his 2nd of the game, 3rd power play goal for Tampa Bay tonight, and 6th power play marker in the season series.

That was all she wrote for tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning took the season series 2-1, Andrei Vasilevskiy earned his 12th career victory against the Philadelphia Flyers, Nikita Kucherov scored 2 goals and added an assist, and unfortunately for Carter Hart, he dropped to 1-7-1 against the Lightning over his career.

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