Philadelphia, PA – Fredrik Modin had three goals and Sean Burke made 38 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Saturday afternoon, 6-0.
The Flyers will try to end their two-game losing streak against the New York Rangers on Monday night at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m., OLN). The Rangers are now just three points behind Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division after winning on Saturday against Pittsburgh.
This was the third of four meetings between the teams, as Tampa Bay won the first two as well to increase its regular season winning streak over the Flyers to seven games. The final game will take place on March 17 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"We were team going very well for an extended period of time. In the last 10 days we have not played near as well as we are capable of," said Ken Hitchcock. "We didn't match the level of intensity on a consistent basis. We had some players that played very well tonight but we didn't match the level of intensity."
Two of Modin's goals came on the power play, as Tampa Bay finished 3-for-9 with the man advantage and the Flyers were 0-for-4.
"It's tough when you don't play well five on five, and then if you give that team five on fours," said Simon Gagne, who had a four-game point-scoring streak come to an end. "We are in a little bit of a slump right now. I think we have done a pretty good job this year with all the injuries, [but] we are all in a slump right now. "
Tampa Bay scored the only two goals of the first period. First, Dan Boyle tapped in the rebound of a backhanded shot by Evgeny Artyukhin at 14:47. With Turner Stevenson in the penalty box for slashing, Darryl Sydor ripped a slap shot from the point that was deflected inside the near post by Modin, who was between the circles with 3:03 left in the frame.
Brian Savage had a great chance to give the Flyers the lead but Burke stopped him at point blank range with about six minutes left in the period on a pass from Mike Richards after a turnover by the Lightning in their own zone.
Modin got his second deflection goal of the afternoon, again on the power play, when he tipped a floating puck off of the stick of Pavel Kubina
between the pads of Niittymaki at 11:03 of the second period.
Modin completed the hat trick when he easily lifted in a pass through the slot by Martin St. Louis at 7:01 of the third period, and a rebound goal by Vaclav Prospal on the power play made it 5-0 before Ryan Craig's sixth goal of the season just 14 seconds later capped the scoring. It was Philadelphia's worst loss of the season.
"We are at the lowest part of our season," said Mike Knuble. "As for a reason why, that's what we are all searching for here. There's not a guy on the team that's not looking in the mirror, wondering what's going on. It's up to us; nobody is going to help us out. We have 18 skaters and two goalies that play every night. We're the ones that need to find it. There's no reason on a Saturday afternoon game to not to be ready to play."
"This is going to force us to be a team," said Hitchcock. "There are a lot of character guys in that locker room that are going to have to rally together along with the coaches. It is easy being a team during the good times. This is the time when you really have to dig in together."
Kim Johnsson and Joni Pitkanen both returned to the Flyers lineup, as Johnsson missed the last three games with a head injury and Pitkanen sat out the previous two contests after re-aggravating a groin injury. Johnsson, however, left the game after two periods with dizziness.FLYERS NOTES
Chris Therien was a healthy scratch for the Flyers, as Freddy Meyer was recalled from the Phantoms earlier in the day. … Out with injuries for the Flyers were Peter Forsberg, Eric Desjardins, Keith Primeau and Branko Radivojevic. Philadelphia has now lost 244 man games to injury, compared with Tampa Bay, which has lost just 24. … Left wing Ben Eager played in his first game since January 12 at Detroit after being recalled on Friday. … The Flyers allowed a hat trick to an opposing player for the second straight game. Jan Bulis had four goals in Montreal's 5-3 win over the Flyers on Wednesday.