Well, this was a clunker. The Lightning have had a few of these so far this year – losses in Minnesota, Toronto and both defeats on Long Island qualify. All teams are going to have games like this, though, so hopefully the Bolts will be able to rebound Tuesday in Boston. But they may have to do it without Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson, as both players were hurt in this loss.
There were a few areas in which the Lightning struggled in this game. Their rush coverage wasn’t crisp. The Flyers netted four even-strength goals in this game and all four came within 10 seconds of the Flyers entering the Lightning defensive zone. Philly players were left unguarded in front of the net for deflections or close range shots. The penalty kill, which had killed 23 of 25 penalties dating back to the first period of a game in New Jersey on December 19, allowed three goals in this game. The Flyers have one of the best power plays in the NHL and they were lethal on their man-advantages. And Evgeni Nabokov wasn’t particularly sharp in this game. He might like a couple of his four allowed goals back.
Certainly, the Lightning did not play well enough to win this game. But as lopsided losses go, this wasn’t their worst performance. I felt there were points when the Lightning carried play. The first came after Steven Stamkos tied the score at one halfway through the opening period. The Flyers went several minutes without registering a shot as the Lightning applied pressure in the offensive zone. But Philly’s next shot, which came with 3:45 left in the period, went in. That goal sparked the home team – and set the stage for their second period eruption.
The Flyers netted five second period goals – the first four of those came in a 6:52 span. Three were power play goals. By the time the Lightning had gotten back to full strength, it was 6-1. The Flyers added one more goal with five minutes left in the second, but the Lightning answered on the next shift. For most of the rest of the game, the Lightning carried play. I understand the lopsided score may have had something to do with the flow of play, but the Lightning did play hard to the very end. They outshot the Flyers, 13-2, in the third and generated a fair number of scoring chances. And they did it playing with only 16 skaters, having lost Hedman late in the first and Johnson in the second.
But those decent stretches don’t make up for their miscues at other points in the game. When the Flyers had the run of play, they made the Lightning pay. And pay dearly.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Jake Voracek’s PPG early in the second, which gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Philly would add four more tallies in the period, including the next three within a 6:52 span.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1.Mark Streit – Flyers. PPG and two assists.
2.Brayden Schenn – Flyers. PPG and assist.
3.Jake Voracek – Flyers. PPG and assist.