There were some significant stretches in this game, segments in which both teams rallied from deficits to grab the lead. The most important one, however, came in the third period, a frame in which the Lightning erased a 2-1 Philadelphia advantage with three unanswered goals. Clearly, the tallies from Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan were critical - they came 12 seconds apart and put the Lightning up, 3-2, with 6:20 remaining.
But the groundwork for the comeback was laid earlier in the third, when the Flyers took three consecutive penalties. Although the Lightning didn't score on any of those third period power play chances, they did keep the puck in the offensive zone for most of the advantages and slowly gained momentum from them. Also, the Flyers, who were completing the second half of a back-to-back, didn't help their cause by having to expend so much energy killing the infractions.
Shortly after the last of the three power plays ended, the Lightning tied the game. Killorn was able to gain a step on Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning so that he could get a stick on the rebound of Slater Koekkoek's initial shot. The Koekkoek shot missed the net, but bounced back in front on the other side of the net. So goalie Steve Mason was not in position to stop the Killorn attempt. Then, off the center ice faceoff, Tyler Johnson chased a bouncing puck into the Flyers end and worked it into the low slot. The Flyers were caught a little flatfooted as the puck ricocheted to Brayden Point. Point set up an unguarded Callahan for a tap-in goal.
Those were two big plays. But there were other momentum swings earlier in the contest. The Lightning controlled the first period, outshooting the Flyers, 12-2. They had lots of scoring chances on Mason, who stopped them all until the final shot of the period beat him. During a Lightning power play, Victor Hedman shot the puck from the right point past a screened Mason with three seconds left in the frame.
The Flyers pushed back in the second, recording 22 shots in the period. That is a season-high for the Lightning (in terms of shots allowed in a period). The Flyers were a lot crisper in their execution than in the first and they definitely had a shooting mentality. But it's not as if the Lightning didn't have their chances either. Unfortunately for the Bolts, some of those chances didn't materialize because they tried to make an extra pass instead of shooting the puck. But credit the Flyers for their rally. A number of the 20 saves for Andrei Vasilevskiy were tough ones. The Dale Weise goal, however, was one he'd probably like back. It bounced off his glove into the net at 6:06 to tie the game. The Flyers were at their most dangerous in the closing minutes of the second. They generated several excellent scoring chances and ended up grabbing the lead when Ivan Provorov scored his first NHL goal in the period's final minute. The play began with a Philadelphia offensive zone faceoff win. That was a problem area for the Lightning, particularly in the second period. They lost 19 of 28 faceoffs in the second.
But the third period was better. Even when they were struggling to put shots on net in the early part of the third, the Lightning were controlling the puck. And those three power plays definitely helped shift momentum. After Callahan's goal, the Lightning had a textbook finish to the game. They repeatedly disrupted Philadelphia rushes up ice, cleared pucks consistently out of their own end and avoided any costly turnovers. They also effectively killed off a final Philadelphia power play. Nikita Kucherov finished the scoring with a redirection from the crease after Valtteri Filppula passed him the puck.
The Lightning are only home for two quick games before heading back out on the road. So it was important that they bank points in these two contests. So far, so good. They'll finish the homestand Friday versus Columbus. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Killorn's tying goal.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Ryan Callahan - Lightning. GWG.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy - Lightning. 29 saves.
- Ivan Provorov - Flyers. First NHL goal. Assist.