The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in Tampa Wednesday night.
It looked like the story for this game was going to be a case of missed opportunities for the Lightning, but what a difference five minutes can make.
For much of the game, it was hard to tell the Flyers, including goalie Steve Mason, were playing their second game in two days. They beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 Tuesday night in Sunrise. This was especially difficult to believe during the second period, when they outshot the Lightning 22-9. They also took pressure off of Mason by blocking 21 shots and successfully killing off all seven penalties they incurred during the game.
“I thought right from the start we came out hard. Our second, we dipped a little bit but responded again in the third and we kept going and kept peppering them and eventually we find a couple there late. It’s always tough that first game back after a road trip. Everybody says it, and there’s something to that. I thought our start was important. I thought we had that.” - Lightning forward Ryan Callahan
The Lightning got on the board first, when Victor Hedman scored with just three seconds left in the opening period. He was helped out by Tyler Johnson screening Mason. Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point were credited with assists on the play. The Lightning outshot Philadelphia 12-2 in the first period.
Throughout the second, the Bolts came up short on several “how-did-that-not-go-in?!?” moments. The Flyers tied it at 6:06 in the second on a goal from Dale Weisse, geting assists from Chris VandeVelde and Ivan Provorov.
They would then take the lead on a last-minute goal of their own, with Provorov scoring at 19:05, thanks to help from Matt Read and Mark Streit. That goal happened on their 22nd shot of the game.
Heading into the third, Philadelphia was up 2-1.
“Well, we knew they were going to push back, and I think we put ourselves in bad situations. We got out of our structure, forcing plays, and giving up odd man rushes. They’re a good team. They got a lot of skill over there so for us we just kind of lost our structure. We were a little impatient, especially when they scored that first one. We sat back a little too much and let them dictate the play. I think that’s what happened, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to look at the video tomorrow and obviously try to straighten that out.” - Hedman
The Lightning were beneficiaries of three power play opportunities during the final period but were unable to cash in on any of them to tie things up. Tampa Bay also dodged a bullet at 2:36 when a Philadelphia goal was waved off due to incidental contact dislodging the net.
At 13:28, Alex Killorn got the equalizer, smacking home a shot by Slater Koekkoek that missed the net and bounced off the back wall. Vladislav Namestnikov picked up the secondary assist. Just 12 seconds later, Ryan Callahan scored on assists from Point and Johnson to regain the lead.
Insurance arrived at 18:45 when Nikita Kucherov scored, getting assistance from Valtteri Filppula and Palat.
The Flyers pulled Mason immediately after the ensuing faceoff for an extra attacker but were held off by Bolts starting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who would end up fending off 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
The Lightning are home again Friday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Killorn goal video:
Hedman goal video:
Callahan goal video:
Kucherov goal video: