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Strong second leads Bolts past Flyers

by Lonnie Herman
TAMPA, Fla. -- The lesson the Tampa Bay Lightning conveyed to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night was this: it's not how many shots you get, it's how many go into the net. The Lightning parlayed four goals on only 16 shots to hand the Flyers a 5-1 defeat at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Tampa Bay broke open a first period 1-1 tie with three second-period goals, two by Steven Stamkos sandwiched around one score by Steve Downie. The two scores gave Stamkos 22 on the season and tied him with Marian Gaborik for the NHL lead.  Downie picked up his fifth goal of the season and was also credited with an assist on the second Stamkos goal.

The Lightning (15-17-3) jumped out to the lead at 9:34 of the first period when seldom-used defenseman Bruno Gervais sent a wrist shot from the right point through traffic and past Ilya Bryzgalov. It was the third goal of the season for Gervais on only his 14th shot on goal.

Philadelphia (21-10-4) tied the score with less than two minutes remaining in the period when Scott Hartnell picked up his 17th goal of the season. Hartnell, in front of the Lightning's goal crease, slammed home the rebound of a Jaromir Jagr scoring attempt. The Flyers ended the period outshooting the Lightning by a 17-4 margin. Mathieu Garon, making his ninth consecutive start in net for the Lightning, was called upon to make several highlight-reel saves, including a left-pad stop of Hartnell on a breakaway early in the period.

If the Lightning were fortunate to escape the first period with a 1-1 tie, the second period was a completely different matter. Tampa Bay scored three goals on seven shots while holding the Flyers without a shot on net until the period was nearly halfway through the period. Philadelphia managed only three shots on net in the period.

Tampa Bay finished the scoring with less than 60 seconds remaining in the game as Vincent Lecavalier converted a 2-on-1 pass from Martin St. Louis. The goal was Lecavalier's 12th of the season. St. Louis' assist was his second of the game.

The Lightning held Philadelphia's power play scoreless through four opportunities. The four penalty kills gave the Lightning a total of nine straight.

Bryzgalov, who allowed 5 goals on 16 shots, allowed his frustration to bubble to the surface.
"My play tonight? How can I describe it?" he said. "What do you think? How do you think I think about my game? What do you think?"

Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher praised his club's effort, particularly that of his goaltender.

"Real bad first, real good second," Boucher said. "The third period, we just tried to manage it. Garon was real solid. That's what you need. Good goaltenders, that's what they do. Tonight, turkey feathers were flying all over the place in the first period and he was there. He gave the players a chance and later, they gave it back to him."

After reeling off 10 wins in their last 14 games -- including a stretch of seven straight -- Philadelphia has dropped four of its last five.

The Lightning, meanwhile, have not been able to string together three consecutive wins since early November and have targeted the next seven games as crucial to turn their season around.

"These next seven games are very important for us to catch up on," Boucher said. "That was one tonight. Not all wins are going to be Picassos, that's for sure."

Stamkos echoed Boucher's assessment.

"It probably wasn't the prettiest game, but we'll take the win," he said. "You take them any way you can when you're struggling."

 The Lightning were forced to play with only four defensemen for over eight minutes of the second period after they lost  Victor Hedman for the night to an upper-body injury in the first period and then Eric Brewer left the ice after catching a right upper cut from Flyer forward Wayne Simmonds during an altercation. Brewer returned in the final period but is day-to-day. Hedman also is considered day-to-day.

The injuries further deplete an already-thin defensive corps for Tampa Bay, as Mattias Ohlund is on injured reserve. He hasn't played this season and may not. Matt Gilroy was also scratched with a lower-body injury.
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