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Flyers Fall Short Against Tampa Bay, 4-2

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia, PA – The Tampa Bay Lightning scored twice in the second period to break a 1-1 tie, as they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center, 4-2.

Tampa scored the only two goals of the middle frame to take a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. A slap shot by Brad Richards from the high slot beat Robert Esche high to the glove side at 15:35 to make it 2-1. Less than two-and-a-half minutes later, Rob DiMaio won a battle for the puck along the boards in the Flyers zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Dan Boyle for a redirection at 17:01.

Tim Taylor made it a 4-1 game in the third period when his attempt at the side of the net bounced around the crease before sneaking in at 6:25 to put the game out of reach for Philadelphia.

The Flyers got one back on a power play goal by Jon Sim, but it was too little too late as Philadelphia dropped its third straight home game.

"[Tampa Bay] is a really good team. They know how to play," said Ken Hitchcock. "They know what it's like to have to compete. They get up for big games. When you play against really good teams, it seems like every mistake ends up in your net. It did tonight."

"They were really quick on all the loose pucks, and that's why they beat us. Every time there was a battle, we came up short," said Eric Desjardins.

The teams traded first period goals. After Joni Pitkanen lost the puck behind the Flyers' net, Taylor centered the puck to Martin Cibak for an easy tip-in at 4:14.

Philadelphia tied the game on the first professional goal by rookie R.J. Umberger. Mike Rathje got the puck deep and Umberger skated it behind the net to attempt a wrap around. He didn't get much on the puck, but it deflected off of Sean Burke's stick and trickled in at 12:16.

It was one of only a few mistakes made by Burke, as the former Flyer stopped 30 shots to pick up the victory. Esche allowed four goals on 25 attempts by the Lightning.

"It seems like we don't have enough energy," said Peter Forsberg. "We're not getting the job done, especially the small things. It's costing us games right now."

Philadelphia's roster had a number of changes since the team's last game in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Desjardins returned after missing the last eight games due to a concussion, but Dennis Seidenberg, Brian Savage and Mike Richards all missed the game with various ailments. Richards was a game-time decision, but his sprained wrist suffered during practice the day before kept him out of the lineup. To take his place, Pat Kavanagh was recalled from the Phantoms. Sim played after being a healthy scratch on Saturday.

The Flyers travel to Boston to face the Bruins on Friday at noon before returning home on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. as they take on the New York Islanders.

The Flyers had their 12th sellout in 13 home games this season . Forsberg had a five-game point streak snapped. The Flyers lost previous game between the two teams, on November 14 in Tampa, 5-2 and have now lost five straight to Lightning in the regular season.
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