The Flyers relentlessly battered a wall in front of the Tampa Bay net in the form of Andrei Vasilevskiy until they finally broke through in the second period and ended up with a 4-2 win, snapping the Lightning’s nine-game winning streak. Tampa Bay got on the board first when Ondrej Palat scored 4:07 into the game on one of just three first period shots for the Lightning. The Flyers continued to severely outshoot Tampa Bay until they found paydirt on their 30th shot of the game and 21st shot of the second period, when Shayne Gostisbehere pinched in and jumped on a loose puck that had slid out of the Tampa Bay goalmouth with 3:09 left. In the third period, Gostisbehere picked up his second on a power play 7:21 in, and the Flyers followed that up with an insurance marker from Brayden Schenn with 6:03 to play. They would need the goal, as Tampa Bay pulled back with in one on a goal 56 seconds later by Vladislav Namestnikov. Wayne Simmonds eventually iced things with an empty-netter. Steve Mason took the win with 16 saves on 18 shots, while Vasilevskiy earned third-star honors with 36 saves on 39 shots.
Tonight featured two, as the game hinged on a couple of key third period plays:
- With just about seven minutes gone in the third, Radko Gudas attempted a one-timer at the right point, only to have his stick fail him. Before Tampa Bay could close on the puck, Gudas was able to go to one knee and kick the puck deep into the zone, allowing the Flyers to continue their offensive zone attack. They didn’t score, but in an attempt to clear a few seconds later, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Nesterov played the puck over the glass and received a delay-of-game penalty. Gostisbehere scored his second on the ensuing power play at the 7:21 mark of the frame.
- About three minutes after Gostisbehere’s goal, Ryan Callahan forced a turnover at the Flyers blue line and went in on a 2-on-1 with Brian Boyle. Schenn was 25 feet behind the play when Callahan stole the puck, but he got on his horse and made up that ground as Callahan tried to maneuver past Nick Schultz. Callahan finally threaded a backhander in front of the goal and Boyle would have had a tap-in, except Schenn arrived just in time and knocked it away from Boyle. Four minutes later, Schenn deflected home the eventual game-winner.
1. Shayne Gostisbehere: Recorded his first career two-goal game with his 13th and 14th goals of the season. In doing so, he broke the Flyers franchise record for goals by a rookie defenseman, which was 13 established by Behn Wilson in 1978-79. Gostisbehere scored on two of his three shots, and had a total of seven shot attempts.
2. Claude Giroux: Had two assists for his 15th multi-point game of the season. Giroux had five shots on goal and 10 total attempts, and was also credited with four hits and three takeaways. He was 14-for -23 (61 pct) on faceoffs.
3. Andrei Vasilevskiy: Stopped the first 29 shots he faced through less than half the game before the Flyers scored, and finished with 36 saves on 39 shots faced in a losing cause.
In addition to his key kicked puck in the Tampa Bay zone, Radko Gudas had nine shot attempts, four hits and two blocked shots… Brayden Schenn had a goal, an assist, five shots and seven hits… Wayne Simmonds had a goal, an assist, three shots and four hits… The Flyers outshot Tampa Bay 40-18, including 22-6 in the second period. The 22 shots are the most the Flyers have had in a period since they had 22 in the second period vs. Ottawa on March 2, 2013… The Flyers had a season-high 90 shot attempts – 40 on goal, 32 that were blocked and 18 that missed. It eclipses the previous season high of 89 taken vs. NYI on December 8… All 18 Flyers skaters had at least one shot on goal; 15 of the 18 skaters had at least one shot attempt blocked… The Flyers were charged with just three giveaways, which ties a season low for a home game.
“I think we all know we’re fighting for our lives right now and the crowd was in it tonight right from the get go. I think those are the fun games to play when the crowd is rowdy and you have to battle against a good team and we did that tonight.”
“It was a real good team effort tonight, and the guys should enjoy that for a few minutes. But tomorrow’s a day off, so we’ve an opportunity to rest up a little bit physically, get away mentally a little bit. And then you know, we get right back to it. So it’s a good win, we’ll put it in the books, enjoy it for a few minutes, and then move onto the next task and that’s what it is for our group.”