Better With Popcorn

Flyers Winning Streak Ends in Loss to Lightning

TAMPA BAY, FL — Philadelphia scored first, but an ineffective power play and questionable defense doomed the Flyers in a 5-1 loss. Tampa Bay picked up its third straight victory.

Sean Couturier got the Flyers going on the right foot with a bad angle shot that slipped right through Lindback to give Philadelphia the lead in the first minute of the game. The game took a chippy identity after Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn dropped the gloves.

B.J. Crombeen continued the chippiness when he took three minor penalties on the same play minutes later, picking up interference, holding and roughing after instigating Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. Those penalties mixed with a Simmonds penalty gave the Flyers a 4 minute power play.

Too bad the Flyers accomplished nothing with the gift of an advantage, and that gave all of the momentum to the Lightning. The Flyers had trouble breaking out of the zone after being hemmed in by an aggressive penalty kill.

It took four minutes for the Orange and Black to collapse. First, Simmonds took an unnecessary Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty leading to a quick power play goal by Teddy Purcell to tie things up.

Then a seemingly innocent, unscreened one-timer from Eric Brewer deflected off the shin pad of the charging defender Max Talbot and past Michael Leighton to make it 2-1.

The Flyers continued the parade to the penalty box and found themselves down two men. Claude Giroux exited the box after his penalty, but with Mike Knuble in the box for tripping, Vincent Lecavalier uncorked a one-time blast to the top shelf past Leighton to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead.

The Lightning gift-wrapped two power play opportunities early in the second period, but again, the power play failed to even hit the net. Leighton kept the Lightning off the scoreboard with a couple of key saves on Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell.

Laviolette moved the lines around by benching Simmonds after the bad penalty, and moving Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn to play with Claude Giroux. Even with the shakeup, the Flyers could not score in the second period. Lindback whitewashed the team on a late power play.

It took one minute into the third period for Tampa to begin salting the game away. Adam Hall broke down the wing and let a backhand shot rip. Leighton bobbled the rebound and Victor Hedman jumped up into the play and popped home the easy rebound to give the Lightning a 3 goal lead.

With 7:30 to go, and the Flyers in cruise control, the Lightning executed a tremendous tic-tac-toe passing play. At the end of a power play, two touch passes found their way to Stamkos on who directed the puck past the five-hole of Leighton to give them a 5-1 lead.

Leighton stopped 20 of 25 shots in the effort. Lindback stopped 25 of 26.

The penalty kill surrendered two goals against in this game, continuing a horrific streak for the PK. Additionally, the Flyers failed to score on six power play opportunities. Special teams continues to kill the team as the season quickly rolls along.

Even more disturbing was the effort. Scoring chances for the Flyers came at a premium. No line seemed to be on the right page after coming off of an effort where the Flyers came off of a 7-1 trouncing of the Panthers. The law of averages may have caught up with them.

That, or the 26 blocked shots by the Lightning threw everything off.

The Flyers will have to deal with a New York Rangers team coming off of a 5-2 comeback victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.