PHILADELPHIA, Pa – The Tampa Bay Lightning will not let their grim playoff hopes get in the way of battling every night with any opponent. Tampa Bay started a three game road trip Monday night in Philadelphia to close out the season series against the Flyers.
For the Lightning it was about taking advantage of the opportunities when they got them but the quantity of opportunities was not abundant.
Applying pressure in the neutral zone while shorthanded Trevor Smith was able to halt Danny Briere’s progress up the ice and poke the puck to a surging Ryan Malone scoring on a breakaway to put the Lightning up 1-0.
Tampa Bay completed their dominate first period with a power play goal with 1.4 seconds left from Steven Stamkos off the faceoff. Stamkos’ 53rd goal of the season set a new franchise record for most goals in a single season, previously held by Vincent Lecavalier (52). “It’s special,” Stamkos said of owning the team record. “Any time you can have an individual thing like that on a team that’s been around for a while and had a lot of great players come through, it’s pretty special. It’s something you remember.”
Philadelphia became the more dominate team in the second period out-shooting the Lightning 16-2 and getting goals from Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read.
Dwayne Roloson continued his exceptional play, stopping 35 of 38 shots fired by the Flyers. It is the first three-game win streak for Roloson since a streak back on November 4th through the 9th.
“Roli was great again,” said Stamkos. “He’s been on fire lately. He’s a big reason we’re pulling out wins here.”
Guy Boucher spoke regarding Roloson after the game. “It is a confidence booster,” said Boucher. “I think for all the work he’s put in all year, the bad work and circumstances that didn’t turn his way, to get those games back certainly makes him feel good, makes the team feel good, and the guys gave him a standing ovation the other day and tonight the same thing. The guys are clapping hard for him and he deserves it. He’s been a professional the entire year.”
Tim Wallace rocketed a pass up ice to the stick of Martin St. Louis who buried the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov to provide a 3-2 advantage at the 2:27 mark of the third period.
“That’s Marty,” said Lightning coach Guy Boucher. “He’s very evasive. Some would say it’s because he’s small, but I’ll tell you, he’s smart and he feels those crucial moments in games. That’s him. He’s there for the big moments and that’s a big moment to start the period.”
JT Wyman added a goal on a mishandle made behind the Flyers net by defensemen Matt Carle causing the puck to come out in front with Bryzgalov out of position.
Bryzgalov made 10 saves on 14 shots. He has played in 19 of the last 20 games, and saw his 11 straight games of allowing two or fewer goals come to an end.
Scott Hartnell scored his 36th goal of the season on the power play slapping it through Roloson with under two minutes left in regulation to make it 4-3.
Tom Pyatt sealed the game for the Lightning with an empty-net goal with 3.1 seconds left.
Tampa Bay will battle the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at 7:30PM at the TD Garden. Goaltender, Sebastien Caron will make his Bolts debut on Tuesday. Caron, 31, joins the Lightning from the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL where he appeared in 49 games while posting a 2.57 goal against average and .932 save percentage.
Captain, Vincent Lecavalier could possibly return to the lineup Tuesday versus Boston, or likely against New Jersey on Thursday night. If Lecavalier makes his return Tuesday, he will finish the season with 999 NHL career games played which will set the stage on opening night of the 2012-13 season for his 1000th career game.