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Roloson makes 35 saves in Lightning's 5-3 win

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was about quantity, not quality.

The Lightning had just 15 shots, but scored five goals to start a three-game road trip with a 5-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Martin St. Louis scored at 2:27 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and Dwayne Roloson -- looking like the goalie who helped the Lightning advance to the Eastern Conference Finals last spring -- made 35 saves to give the Lightning their third straight win.

It's Roloson's first three-game win streak since Nov. 4-9, and the first time Tampa Bay has won three in a row since a four-game streak Feb. 26 to March 3.

Steven Stamkos scored his team-record 53rd goal of the season, and Ryan Malone, JT Wyman and Tom Pyatt also scored for the Lightning.

Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read and Scott Hartnell scored for the Flyers, who out-shot the Lightning 38-15, including 16-2 in the second period.

Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov played well but saw his streak of 11-straight games of allowing two goals or fewer ended. It's also just his second regulation loss in 13 March games (10-2-1).

He also might have suffered a leg injury during the game. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Bryzgalov was healthy, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Bryzgalov had X-rays taken on his left leg after the game, and could have gotten hurt when he was hit by a shot in pre-game warm-ups.

Bryzgalov has played 19 of the last 20 games, and could be in line for a break as the Flyers have three games in four nights coming up, starting Thursday in Toronto.

However, coach Peter Laviolette wouldn't reveal any plan he had to give his workhorse goalie a break.

When asked about a game off, Bryzgalov said, "I am just an employee here. Whatever the coaches decide, I am going to do it."

The loss leaves the Flyers fifth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the fourth-place Pittsburgh Penguins, and five behind the conference-leading New York Rangers.

A dominant first period by the Lightning saw Tampa Bay lead 2-0 after one period, but a complete reversal saw the Flyers dominate in the second to tie the game.

Things turned back in the Lightning's favor early in the third. The Flyers somehow lost St. Louis in the neutral zone, but Tampa forward Tim Wallace found him. Wallace's long pass sent St. Louis in alone on Bryzgalov, and he beat the Philadelphia netminder with a wrist shot over the blocker at 2:27 of the third for St. Louis' 24th of the season.

"That's Marty," said Lightning coach Guy Boucher. "He's very evasive. Some would say it's because he's small, but I'll tell you, he's smart and he feels those crucial moments in games. That's him. He's there for the big moments and that's a big moment to start the period."

Roloson handled the rest, kicking aside 11 of 12 shots in the third. That came after he denied 14 of 16 shots in the second.

"Rolie was great again," said Stamkos. "He's been on fire lately. He's a big reason we're pulling out wins here."

"We needed him in the second period," added Lightning coach Guy Boucher. "Those two goals, he couldn't do anything about it -- they were hard-work goals by the opponent. And the end of the third period, he made that big save in the last minute and we thought it was a game-saver."

At 42, Roloson has said he'd like to play another season, and while his season as a whole might be lacking -- he's 11-14-2 with a 3.65 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in 35 games -- this part of his audition tape looks pretty good.

"It is a confidence booster," said Boucher. "I think for all the work he's put in all year, the bad work and circumstances that didn't turn his way, to get those games back certainly makes him feel good, makes the team feel good, and the guys gave him a standing ovation the other day and tonight the same thing. The guys are clapping hard for him and he deserves it. He's been a professional the entire year."

Boucher credits Roloson's improved play to the goalie realizing that less can be more.

"Him and Frantz (Jean, goalie coach) worked really hard stabilizing his game and calming him down back to where it was before, and that's what he looks like right now," said Boucher. "He's calm in net and for a long time he tried to do so much. He's a character guy, he's an emotional guy, and probably for a long time it wasn't a lack of wanting to do well, it was the opposite. He wanted so bad that he probably overdid stuff and now he's a lot calmer in his net."

Tampa Bay scored on its first shot of the game, when Ryan Malone scored a shorthanded goal off a Philadelphia turnover 8:08 into the game.

The Lightning entered the game with just one shorthanded goal, the fewest in the League.

Tampa Bay made it 2-0 with 1.4 seconds left in the period on Stamkos' power-play goal.

Danny Briere was sent off for interference with 5.4 seconds left, and on the ensuing faceoff, Pyatt beat Sean Couturier on a faceoff in the left circle in the Philadelphia end. Teddy Purcell grabbed the puck and moved it to St. Louis, who sent it to Stamkos just above the left circle. With traffic in front, Stamkos fired a shot that beat Bryzgalov just before the horn.

The goal breaks a tie with Vincent Lecavalier, who had 52 goals in the 2006-07 season. Stamkos also moved seven goals ahead of Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.

"It's special," Stamkos said of owning the team record. "Any time you can have an individual thing like that on a team that's been around for a while and had a lot of great players come through, it's pretty special. It's something you remember."

Simmonds got the Flyers on the board 3:21 into the second with his first goal in 16 games, driving to the net to finish a give-and-go with Brayden Schenn for his 23rd of the season.

"I heard (Schenn) yelling on the play so I just wanted to cut toward the middle and pass the puck back to him," said Simmonds. "He took his man wide and I drove the net and he made a perfect pass to me."

Read tied the game with his 22nd goal of the season, tying him with Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog for the rookie lead. Jakub Voracek dug the puck out of the left corner in the Tampa Bay end, carried it around the top of the Lightning zone and found Kimmo Timonen pinching in. Timonen sent a pass through the slot to Read, who was tripped by Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie, but as he was falling to the ice he was able to poke the puck past Roloson.

The assist was the 400th of Timonen's NHL career.

After St. Louis' goal put Tampa Bay ahead, Wyman jumped on a Matt Carle turnover in front of his net to score his second of the season and first in 29 games.

Hartnell pulled the Flyers within a goal late, blasting a slap shot between Roloson's pads with 1:13 left for his 36th of the season and League-best 16th power-play goal, but that was as close as Philadelphia could get.

Pyatt added an empty-net goal with 3.1 seconds left to close the scoring.

The Flyers went 3-2 on their five-game homestand, but Monday's loss left a bitter taste.

"Obviously it's a let-down," said Simmonds. "We needed these two points and we didn't get them, so it's disturbing, but we have to move on from here."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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