In the Flyers’ 2-1 overtime loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday it was clear that both sides had a game plan, and once revealed early on in the game, it was obvious to see a game of chess taking place.
In the early going of the contest it was the waiting game.
The Flyers pulled an old tactic out of their playbook and refused to play into the Lightning’s “1-3-1 trap” through the neutral zone.
Flyers’ defensemen held onto the puck circling up to the blue line and back, sometimes for over 30 seconds of play, but not advancing past the blue line.
On two occasions, the referee called the play dead and a defensive zone face off occurred.
The Flyers deployed the same tactic in the second period and as a result there were just 17 shots between both clubs midway through the contest.
The Flyers and Scott Hartnell struck first on the power-play midway through the second period.
The Lightning responded with a power-play goal of their own seven minutes into the final period to knot the score back up at 1-1.
The final six minutes of play were much more loose, primarily due to the fact that the Flyers were on the penalty kill for an interference call on Kimmo Timonen and kneeing on Scott Hartnell.
The Flyers were up to the task however and were able to force overtime to gain a point for the fifth straight game. In overtime however Tampa had momentum on their side and a rush from Dominic Moore yielded a rebound to Brett Connolly who put it past Bryzgalov.
- Jaromir Jagr’s seven-game point streak ended in tonight’s loss.
- The 15 shots for the Flyers were their fewest in a game since they had 15 on Feb. 10, 2010 at New Jersey.
Matt Read gets tonight’s star for the Flyers. Read appeared in his first game since Oct. 29 after recovering from an upper-body injury and played a key role for the Flyers in gaining a point in the standings.
Read appeared in 19:34 of ice-time in the game, 6:39 of which was short-handed to lead the Flyers.
Read also won the faceoff that led to the Flyers only goal of the night. Overall, Read was 7-for-9 in faceoffs tonight.
“I think the rule needs some clarification. They said the puck needs to be moving and there was movement on the second one and it was blown down again. I think they straightened it out” - Peter Laviolette
"Tampa thrives on turnovers and puck possession. It's a tough system to get through the neutral zone. Obviously, we talked about it and had meetings about it. As much as we had the puck that's a good thing.They eventually had to change their system and that is something that we wanted them to do." - Scott Hartnell
The turning point of tonight’s game was the Lightning’s power-play goal 7:41 into the third period.
Marc-Andre Bergeron’s game-tying goal brought the Lightning back, and gave them momentum through final 10 minutes of play and into overtime.
PIC OF THE NIGHT: Chris Pronger in the first period of the Flyers-Lightning game.
Lightning 2, Flyers 1 in OT Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Lightning won a game that had an old-time basketball feel.
But the NHL didn't have a shot clock to prevent the Philadelphia Flyers' unique strategy.
Brett Connolly scored 2:30 into overtime to give the Lightning a 2-1 victory over the Flyers on Wednesday night. Connolly won it after Dominic Moore skated into the Flyers' zone and got the puck past a Philadelphia defender into the low slot, from where the rookie beat goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
"It was nice to see it come to me," Connolly said.
Connolly has three goals in four games after starting the season with an 11-game goal drought.
"He crashes the net," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We're very impressed with him."