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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a wild win in Philadelphia

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts' wild 6-5 overtime win over the Flyers

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

With 10 minutes to go in Tampa Bay's road game at Philadelphia Saturday afternoon, the Lightning owned a comfortable 5-1 lead and appeared well on their way to collecting their 14th win of the season and second win on the four-game road trip.

What happened after that was a blur.

The Bolts wound up with the victory but nearly suffered a monumental collapse.

Philadelphia scored four goals in a span of 6:04 of the third period to tie the game 5-5 with 3:32 remaining. Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue made a couple miraculous saves to keep the game on level terms and send it to overtime. And in the extra session, Anthony Cirelli stuck with the puck after he fumbled his initial opportunity on a 2-on-1 break, scoring at 1:47 to end a wild one in Philadelphia 6-5 in favor of the Lightning.

Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said after the game his team's performance was one of its worst five of the season.
"We were fortunate enough to win," Cooper said. "You need to get points like that."

The Lightning were able to survive and pull out both points in Philadelphia when maybe they didn't deserve to.

And in the end, that's all that really matters.

Video: TBL@PHI: Erne capitalizes on give-and-go for a PPG

1. FOURTH LINE DRIVES THE BUS
Tampa Bay's line of Adam Erne, Cedric Paquette and Ryan Callahan has provided plenty of intangibles for the Lightning through the first 20 games of the season.

But in Philadelphia, they were the offensive engine for the team.

Adam Erne had his best game in a Lightning uniform, scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists for his first career three-point night.

Cedric Paquette, who left the game with a little more than six minutes remaining in the first and didn't return for the rest of the period after blocking a shot with his foot, recovered to score his third goal of the season off a beauty of a pass from Erne to put the Lightning up 2-0 after Erne got the Bolts on the board six minutes earlier.

And Ryan Callahan provided the primary assist on the first of two goals for Brayden Point, one that put the Lightning back in front by two goals 3-1 about two-and-a-half minutes after Philadelphia got on the board.

While the rest of the Lightning lines were finding their footing in Philadelphia, the fourth line gave the Bolts the spark they needed to jump into the lead and start to take control of the game.

"I thought that line really was the catalyst for why we had the lead," Cooper said. "I know the power play got a couple there, but they were the line that really I thought got us going. It was great to see they were getting on the scoresheet."

That's what makes this Lightning team so dangerous. They truly can roll four lines at any moment of the game and feel good about who their sending over the boards. And all four lines can score, so if the typical scoring lines are shut down, others can pick up the slack.

On Saturday, the fourth line gave the Lightning the scoring punch they needed in addition to the typical intangibles they provide to help the Bolts win games.

"Just a great effort by them the whole night for sure," Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "The whole night they were playing the right way, making it hard on them to forecheck and played well in their own zone too. That's what we like to see is doing it the right way out there."

 

2. THE COLLAPSE
The Lightning should have never needed overtime in Philadelphia. Up by four goals with 10 minutes remaining and playing the game the right way, Tampa Bay should have coasted to their fourth road win in their last five contests.

The tenor of the game changed, however, on an ill-advised hit up high by Erik Cernak on Oskar Lindblom that riled the Flyers up and sent Cernak to the box for high-sticking.

"It was a weird game," Cooper said. "I'm not sure, we're up 5-1 and I don't think the game felt like we were up 5-1. And it started getting physical there. It kind of gave the crowd a little bit of life, they got a little life. Then they started getting breaks that they probably deserved. From a coach's perspective, it's probably one you're not too happy with, but I'm sure the fans were pretty entertained."

Philadelphia scored :27 seconds into the power play from Cernak's penalty to cut the Lightning lead to three goals.

Not a big deal.

Less than a minute later, J.T. Miller was whistled for hooking. This time, it only took the Flyers :13 seconds to capitalize with the man-advantage, Sean Couturier scoring his eighth goal of the season to cut further into the Lightning lead at 5-3.

At this point, even though the Philadelphia crowd was back in the game, Tampa Bay was still okay.

With just over four minutes remaining, though, Travis Konecny scored his second goal of the game, and suddenly the Lightning lead was down to one with momentum and the crowd firmly behind the Flyers.

Uh oh.

Thirty seconds later, Wayne Simmonds tied the game on his third attempt at a rebound, shaking off a tremendous diving stick save by Louis Domingue on his initial shot and sticking with the puck to score and make it a 5-5 game.

"We knew they were going to push," McDonagh said. "It felt like we needed to have a couple big kills there, and they took advantage of their opportunities. We gave them a lot of momentum, and it was tough for us to find our rhythm 5-on-5. It's a hard team to play against in this building, and, when they get rolling, they feed off their crowd."

The game tied and still three minutes on the clock, Philadelphia had a couple great scoring opportunities to complete the miraculous comeback. But Domingue recovered from the barrage he faced in the third and made timely saves to get the game to overtime.

"You look in the box score and it's going to say Louis gave up five," Cooper said. "But he made some big saves for us and, again, they were just some unlucky breaks…In the end he's winning us games, and that's the key."

Tampa Bay became the first NHL team to give up a four-goal lead and still win. Not exactly the way the Lightning want to enter the record books, but a win is a win no matter how it comes about.

Video: TBL@PHI: Cirelli fights off defender to score in OT

3. CIRELLI STICKS WITH IT
Anthony Cirelli scored the game-winner 1:47 into overtime to salvage two points for the Lightning.

But it nearly never came to fruition.

The Lightning had a two-on-one rush into the zone, Alex Killorn holding the puck and dishing at the perfect moment for Cirelli to one-time into the back of the net. Except Cirelli fumbled the puck and couldn't get a shot off.

For a second, it seemed the Lightning's scoring chance had fallen by the wayside.

Cirelli never gave up on the play though. He was able to regain possession from a tired group of Philly skaters, maneuver into an opening in front of the net and snipe a shot past Flyers goalie Calvin Pickard to set off a raucous Lightning celebration.

"Killer gave me a great pass first off on the 2-on-1 and I kind of fumbled it and it came back to me there," Cirelli said, describing the play. "I just tried to hold onto it, found a lane to the net and just fired one."

Cirelli has been an invaluable player for the Lightning this season. He wins a surprising number of puck battles given his wiry frame. He's solidified the third line center position for the Lightning. He's the Bolts' most counted on penalty killer among the forward group. And he provides moments of brilliance offensively.

Like his play to win the game against Philadelphia.

"The kid just plays the game the right way," Cooper said. "He plays with his heart, and he's got skill to match it. You look at the plays he makes, what an individual effort to fight off the check and have the wherewithal not to let them go the other way, still keep the puck and score a goal like that. He's deserved it, and it's because he plays that way. Eventually, you just get rewarded, and now he's getting rewarded."

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