Better With Popcorn

Flyers win 5-2 with Dominating Second Period Performance

The first period did not look promising. Considering how well the Flyers had been playing in their last four, the first twenty on Saturday made it seem as though the game was geared to be a letdown.

That, of course, was before the Flyers scored three goals in the second on way to defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2. 

The Lightning opened the scoring a little after the mid-way point of the first.

Victor Hedman began the play by dumping the puck into the Philadelphia zone. Dominic Moore fielded the shallow dump and sent a pass to Ryan Shannon who was left uncovered in front of the Flyers goal.

It was one of several instances where Philadelphia had defensive lapses that left Tampa Bay players unguarded in front of their own net.

Luckily for the Flyers, Ilya Bryzgalov was in prime form and made several saves that kept the team within a single goal.

Considering that the Flyers had to play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and have the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, the team may have been preoccupied with more compelling opponents.

“I was a little concerned about the game tonight,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “It was wedged in-between Pittsburgh and Washington, and that’s not to disrespect our opponent… but a couple of bigger names in the Conference; Pittsburgh’s first in the Conference, and this was our third game in four nights, and we’re still coming off of the West Coast, so there was a lot of things that gave me some concerns tonight."

While the Flyers may have lacked focus in the first, the second was a completely different story.

After killing off an Andrej Meszaros roughing penalty, the team immediately knotted the game at one.

The play began when Wayne Simmonds stripped Bruno Gervais of the puck at center ice. He moved into the Lightning defensive zone untouched and sent a pass to Daniel Briere who promptly put the puck over Mathieu Garon’s glove hand.

Thirty-six seconds later, Jaromir Jagr gave the Flyers the lead in similar fashion.

After Scott Hartnell gained possession of the puck off another Tampa Bay turnover in the neutral zone, Claude Giroux dropped a pass to Jagr who put the puck over Garon’s glove.

The goal was the 656th of Jagr's career and tied him with Brendan Shanahan for 11th on the NHL's all-time list.

While the first Flyers goals were the product of two marksmen, the third goal came from some hard work and a bit of luck.

The team was moving the puck around the zone during their third power play of the game. Following a few passes, it ultimately found the stick of Simmonds down low. With his back to the play, Simmonds tried to move the puck to the front of the net but found the skate of Brett Clark.

Instead of deflecting to the side, the puck ricocheted off the defender’s foot and into the net.

Simmonds didn’t seem to mind.

“I'm just trying to go to the net and trying to make hard strong plays,” he said. “I thought it was a lucky goal, but I'll take that one.”

Both teams traded power play goals in the third, in addition to Hartnell scoring on an empty net.

During the first period, the Flyers failed to connect on simple breakouts, made poor decisions with the puck and failed to execute simple coverage’s in front of their own net.

Once the second began, those plays were all but a distant memory.

“I was really happy to see us in the second period really crank up our game,” Laviolette said. “I felt we could have scored 4, or 5, or 6 goals to separate further, but there was some posts and some good saves in there, some bounces that didn’t go our way, but I was really happy with the way we pressed it.”

The Flyers have now won their last five games and will look to extend it to six on Tuesday night in Washington.

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