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Five-goal second period helps Flyers down Lightning

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Coach Craig Berube said he chose goaltender Rob Zepp to start Monday for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Tampa Bay Lightning because he liked the energy Zepp brought to the game.

It certainly energized the offense.

The Flyers scored four times in the first 8:37 of the second period en route to a 7-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

Mark Streit had one goal and two assists, and Brayden Schenn, Chris VandeVelde and Jakub Voracek each had one goal and one assist for Philadelphia (17-19-7).

Claude Giroux, celebrating his 27th birthday, had two assists and Zepp made 21 saves for his second win in as many NHL starts.

The 33-year-old Zepp made his NHL debut in a 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 21; according to Hockey-Reference.com, Zepp became the oldest player since the 1926-27 season to win his NHL debut.

Zepp said win No. 2, in his first home start, was just as enjoyable.

"Probably feels even better than the first time around," Zepp said. "What can I say? The guys played outstanding tonight; to build a 7-1 lead against a team like that is incredible. ... They have a lot of offensive power and we hung with it today. Thought we did a really good job tonight."

The seven goals tied the Flyers' season high, and also were the most they've scored at home since scoring seven against the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 16, 2012. The win also ended the Flyers' six-game losing streak against the Lightning.

Steven Stamkos, Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan scored for the Lightning (27-13-4). Evgeni Nabokov started the game in goal but allowed four goals on 13 shots before being removed 2:36 into the second period. Ben Bishop relieved him and allowed three goals on 12 shots.

The seven goals tied the most allowed by the Lightning this season; they allowed that many in a 7-2 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 25, 2014.

The loss ended the Lightning's three-game win streak. They also lost defenseman Victor Hedman and forward Tyler Johnson because of lower-body injuries. Hedman, the Lightning's ice-time leader, did not return after playing 6:56 in eight shifts in the first period.

Johnson, who entered play Monday tied for sixth in the League in scoring with 45 points, had one assist before leaving the game midway through the second period. He was named to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Saturday.

After the game, coach Jon Cooper said he was unsure if either player would be able to play Tuesday at the Boston Bruins.

Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn sustained a lower-body injury late in the first period. He had one assist and a plus-1 rating in 6:49 of ice time; the Flyers said they would have more information on Coburn on Tuesday.

Philadelphia led 2-1 after one period but scored five times in the second, including four in a 6:52 span early in the second, to take control.

"That was a very good period for us obviously," Brayden Schenn said. "We were able to keep it simple, put the pucks to the net, getting guys to the net. We were getting some rebounds and obviously the power play helped us out there too."

Voracek started the run when he one-timed a Streit pass from the right circle between Nabokov's right arm and body for a power-play goal at 1:45, and 51 seconds later Pierre-Edouard Bellemare made it 4-1 when he got into the slot and tipped a VandeVelde shot past Nabokov at 2:36.

The Lightning changed goalies, bringing in Bishop, but it did little to help. Matt Carle was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking at 6:49 and Streit capitalized with his fifth goal of the season at 7:02.

With Carle still in the box, Johnson was called for high-sticking and Brayden Schenn scored his 10th of the season when he picked the top corner over Bishop's glove.

"We had that power play and we got one there, then we got the 5-on-3," Brayden Schenn said. "When you get back-to-back power plays with the 5-on-3 you've got to make that count and we feel like we did that tonight."

Forward Michael Raffl closed the run with a goal from in front at 15:01 to give the Flyers a 7-1 lead.

The last time the Flyers scored five goals in a period was against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 19, 2013.

As impressive as the offensive outburst was, the Flyers also limited the Lightning, the League's highest-scoring team, to five shots in the first period and 11 shots through 40 minutes.

"That's where it all starts for me," Berube said of the defensive effort. "We defended really well. You have to defend against that team. They're the highest-scoring team in the League. They came with a lot of speed.I thought our defense did a good job, good gaps. Our forwards came back hard. We forced turnovers and caught them a few times and got some odd-man rushes and attacks the other way because of it."

Stamkos said allowing the five goals in the second period was the culmination of the mistakes the Lightning made from the start of the game.

"The problem was our first period," he said. "I know it was 2-1 but we didn't start the game very well. They had all the momentum there. They were getting to pucks faster, we weren't touching anyone in front of our net, leaving our goaltender out to dry. It was an accumulation of things we got away with in the first but not in the second."

The Lightning were able to push back a bit in the third, outshooting the Flyers 13-2 and getting Callahan's power-play goal, but it wasn't close to enough. With another game Tuesday, the Lightning will have to shake it off fast.

"Stuff like this happens throughout an 82-game season," Stamkos said. "It's a grind. But we'll see how we respond. That's going to be the big thing for our team. We'll throw this one behind us and we have to respond tomorrow."

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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