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Lightning extend streak with win over Flyers

by Lonnie Herman /

TAMPA, Fla. -- Anders Lindback made one mistake, and he made it just 59 seconds into the game. But after that, he was faultless, stopping the next 24 shots he faced as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 to extend their winning streak to four.

Lindback allowed a weak shot along the goal line from Philadelphia forward Sean Couturier to slip between his skate and the post and into the Lightning net to give the Flyers a quick one-goal lead.

"I was just turning my foot," Lindback said. "It happens and when it happens you just have to let it go and move on. We battled back and showed a lot of character,"

That early fluke goal was all the Flyers could muster, despite having six power-play opportunities, including a four minute advantage in the opening period during which they managed just one shot on net.

"That was guys sticking together," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said of the penalty kill. "We're a very different team now. We're big now and we're tough and we're committed to defense."

The first period was a penalty-filled, fast and furious 20 minutes that saw both teams accumulating a total of 26 minutes in infraction time. The whistle began sounding when Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier tussled with Philadelphia defenseman Luke Schenn, earning five minutes apiece. For Lecavalier it was his first major penalty since February 3, 2009.

Lecavalier later added a power-play goal when he buried a pass from Martin St. Louis behind Flyers netminder Michael Leighton with only 65 seconds remaining in the opening period. The assist was the third of what would eventually be four in the game for St. Louis. The goal capped a first period comeback that saw the Lightning close out the opening period with a 3-1 lead.

Teddy Purcell got Tampa Bay on the board with his first goal of the season, a power-play tally set up by some sharp precision passing between St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. Stamkos collected St. Louis' feed in the low slot and sent the puck to Purcell, standing unchecked to the right of the Flyer net. Purcell ended the night with a goal and two assists.

Eric Brewer put the Lightning ahead for good at 16:10 when his blast from the left point deflected off Flyer center Maxime Talbot and passed Leighton.

Tampa Bay continued its third-period mastery when they scored two goals in the final period.

Victor Hedman notched his second goal of the season when he was in perfect position to tap in a rebound of an Adam Hall backhand. Lightning defenseman Sami Salo was credited with his second assist of the game on the play.

"It was a 3-on-2 so I charged the net," Hedman said. "Doesn't matter who is involved. Hall is great at getting the puck on the net, and luckily it bounced right out to me."

Stamkos completed the scoring when he directed the puck past Leighton just two seconds after a Lightning power-play had ended. Stamkos scored from in front of the Flyer crease off some sharp passing from St. Louis and Purcell.

With the two third-period goals, the Lightning have now outscored their opponents 13-1 in the final period.

The loss dropped the Flyers to 2-4-0 on the season and denied them of a three-game win streak. This was the second of two back-to-back games for Philadelphia, after it played the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

"We can't use that as an excuse," Flyers forward Matt Read said. "Everyone's playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. When you're playing back to back, you've got to keep it simple and play smart hockey. We've got to learn how to play both nights and come to play for 60 minutes every game, every night."

Tampa Bay converted on two of five extra-man chances on the night. The Flyers currently lead the NHL in minor penalties.

"If you're in the penalty box you're not winning games," Read said. "It's as simple as that."

Boucher pointed to the play of Lecavalier as a major factor to the Lightning's fast start on the season.

"Give credit to Vinny," Boucher said. "We've had very good talks about leadership and things that this team needs. We're talking about defensively, being the first on ice for practice and the last to come off, in the gym. Right now, he's doing everything."

Sunday night, it appeared the entire team was doing everything right, including paying the price with blocked shots. Tampa Bay blocked 26 shots to only eight for the Flyers.

Leighton, making his first start of the season for Philadelphia, stopped 20 of 25 shots he faced.

The Flyers continue their road trip Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, while Tampa Bay continues its five-game homestand Tuesday against Florida.

"Right now, there is a lot of positive stuff," Boucher said. "But we don't want to stay at this. We want to keep going. We're far from where we want to be. We are doing some good things, but we're not good yet."

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