Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Flyers, Lightning forwards Anthony Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, who missed the previous game due to injury, all returned to the lineup for this game. It allowed the Lightning to extend their overall winning streak to ten games and their winning streak at Amalie Arena to 11 games, setting a new franchise record for the most consecutive wins at home.
The Lightning showed a great well-rounded game with basically every line involved in offensive actions. The middle six lines gave the Bolts an early lead in the game, the fourth line continued it in the second period, and the top line stepped up in the last period while the Flyers pressured to tie the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy was also excellent in the third period, keeping the Bolts in the game.
The Lightning opened the scoring early in the first period. After two minutes of game time without any shot attempts, Alex Killorn found a way to get the puck into Carter Hart’s net. The play started with Mikhail Sergachev picking up the puck at the Lightning defensive zone and making a pass to Kevin Shattenkirk who was forced to toss the puck to the corner under pressure from two Flyers defencemen after taking a rush. Killorn retrieved the puck, skated toward the net and tried to make a shot, but the puck was deflected off Ivan Provorov. Then Killorn collected the rebound and squeezed the puck into the net.
A little bit later after the first goal was scored, both teams exchanged power play opportunities. First, Mitchell Stephens was called for cross checking against Michael Raffl, sending the Lightning to the penalty kill. The Flyers power play looked very dangerous, but Vasilevskiy was in the right place every time. Shortly after the Flyers PP expired, Yanni Gourde almost ran away on a breakway but Ivan Provorov held his stick and the Lightning got their first power play. Their PP looked better in recent games but they still haven’t been lucky while having a man advantage. They were quickly moving the puck around the crease and creating a lot of chances, which ended in two heavy blasts by Hedman and Stamkos but the power play eventually went scoreless.
In this game, the Lightning have shaken their lines a little bit. Killorn reunited with Cirelli and Palat on the second line and Johnson joined Pat Maroon and Cedric Paquette on the third. Tyler Johnson’s presence on the third line added some speed and dynamism. They had a couple of great shifts in the second half of the first period and in the end got their names on the scoreboard too. Pat Maroon won the battle for the puck along the boards and made a pass to Johnson. He noticed Paquette standing alone in front of the Flyers net and delivered the puck to him. Paquette redirected his pass past Carter Hart, giving the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
The first period ended with a strong advantage for the Lightning. They led the Flyers in shot attempts (19-7), high dangerous chances (4-1) and also expected goals (1.14-0.31)
In the second, the Lightning again scored early in the period, increasing their lead to 3-0. Gourde left the puck for Hedman in the middle of the rink, Hedman entered the Flyers zone and after a dramatic pause, made a pass to Carter Verhaeghe at the back post who sent the puck over Carter Hart’s shoulder.
Probably the first dangerous moment for the Flyers came after Ivan Provorov hit the goal post, jumping on the rush five minutes into the second period. Three minutes later, Nikita Kucherov was sent to the penalty box for hooking on Matt Niskanen. This time, Provorov didn’t waste his opportunity and his slap shot went past Vasilevskiy and the Flyers cut the Lightning lead to 3-1.
In the second half of the period, the air started to electrify. First of all, Steven Stamkos ran away on the breakaway during the Lightning penalty kill. On his way towards the net, he drew a penalty when Giroux tried to stop him. After the whistle, Stamkos and Konecny exchanged couple of punches to the face and both joined Giroux in penalty box.
Later, it was Anthony Cirelli who got involved in more fisticuffs with Travis Konecny. The Flyers forward wasn’t happy with being hit couple of times before that play, but this time he was the only player who served a penalty. The second period ended with another scrum and now Coburn and Voracek headed to the box, while Eric Cernak got a 10 minutes misconduct
The Lightning still led the Flyers in shot attempts and high dangerous chances by the end of second period. However, their expected goal share during this period was almost equal.
The teams started the third period at 4-on-4, but this quickly turned into 4-on-3, as Ivan Provorov dumped Anthony Cirelli into the boards from behind just 46 seconds in. Kucherov and Point almost converted the first power play opportunity for the Lightning this afternoon. Both forwards skated through the Flyers zone, but were denied by Carter Hart. Later on that power play, Sean Couturier attempted to make a breakaway but Cirelli intervened, taking the puck away from Couturier’s stick.
The Flyers continued to put pressure on the Lightning net during the first half of the third period, but Vasilevskiy was outstanding. He made several key saves, including a stop on Robert Hagg’s wrist shot from the slot. After surviving this stretch, the Lightning scored their fourth goal of the game. Brayden Point skated towards the net from the blue line, faked a shot, beating Provorov on his way, and threw the puck into the net. Stamkos and Kucherov registered assists on that goal.
Three minutes later, the Flyers again cut the Lightning lead to two goals. James van Riemsdyk scored a goal on the power play deflecting a pass from Matt Niskanen. Within one minute after scoring the second goal, the Flyers pulled the goalie and scored again. Provorov blasted a puck from distance and Giroux was first on the rebound. The goal was initially reviewed as it wasn’t very clear if the puck actually crossed the line, but eventually referees confirmed a goal for the Flyers.
Despite having three minutes to tie the game, the Flyers failed to score another goal and instead allowed an empty-netter by the Lightning. Steven Stamkos won the puck after a redirect by the boards and sent it to Nikita Kucherov who scored probably the easiest goal this season. 5-3 and another victory for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The last period was the only period when the Flyers had better numbers than the Bolts, They controlled the puck, doubled the Lightning in shots and expected goals, but a strong performance by Andrei Vasilevskiy prevented them from completing the comeback.
Alex Killorn (Kevin Shattenkirk, Mikhail Sergachev): 1-0
Cedric Paquette (Tyler Johnson, Pat Maroon): 2-0
Carter Verhaeghe (Victor Hedman, Yanni Gourde): 3-0
Ivan Provorov (Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier): 3-1
Brayden Point (Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov): 4-1
James van Riemsdyk (Matt Niskanen, Travis Sanheim): 4-2
Claude Giroux (Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny): 4-3
Nikita Kucherov (Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman): 5-3