Boris Katchouk scored his first NHL goal and Taylor Raddysh scored his second in as many nights as the Tampa Bay Lightning throttled the Philadelphia Flyers, 7-1. Corey Perry scored twice while five Lightning players posted multi-point nights. Brian Elliott made 38 saves as he beat one of his many former teams.
Mathieu Joseph scored a shorthanded goal in his return from injury while Victor Hedman and Ross Colton had three assist nights. Ryan McDonagh and Patrick Maroon also had goals for the Lightning while Cam Atkinson had the lone tally for the Flyers.
Cal Foote may not have recorded a point, but he had a strong game as he stepped in for an injured Erik Cernak (day-to-day with a lower-body injury) and Joseph picked up right where he left off prior to his injury.
The game started like the two teams had early dinner plans, going for almost eight minutes without a whistle. During that time, it was Philadelphia with the better run of play as the Bolts came out sluggish. With most of the action right in front of him, Brian Elliott had to be sharp and he was, turning aside 14 shots throughout the opening 20 minutes.
A turnover by young Gabriel Fortier led to an extended shift in the zone for the Flyers, but they really couldn’t get to the front of the net. As tired as the Lightning skaters might have been, they didn’t allow any real premium chances and the crises was averted.
Fortier almost picked up his first goal a few minute later as he made a nice play to win the puck and pedaled into the Flyers zone untested. He cut in front of the net and tried to tuck the puck under Carter Hart, but wasn’t able to complete the move. Alex Killorn’s follow-up was denied as well.
It only took a a minute (literally) for the Lightning to take control of the game. First it was Steven Stamkos whipping a shot on net from a good angle. Hart had to have been glad to stop the shot from the Lightning captain, but he couldn’t replicate the effort on the rebound as Ryan McDonagh cruised in tight and knocked it home.
On the very next shift it was McDonagh setting up the goal. He boomed a shot from the middle of the ice that went just wide. However, Corey Perry was just kind of gliding around the net and was in the right position to swat the carom home. Just like that it was 2-0.
Much like the game against the Boston Bruins (although not to the extreme) the Lightning had the lead despite getting outplayed. As you can see above, the Flyers controlled the shot attempts throughout the period, but the Lightning did have a slight lead in quality with a 4-3 lead in high-danger chances and 54.05% xGF. Let’s call them opportunistic with their play.
If the Lightning took advantage of the opportunities in the first, they took the Flyers’ souls in the second period. Three goals on nine shots chased Carter Hart and extended the lead to 5-0 in favor of the road team. With the way Philadelphia has struggled to score lately, they would need roughly two weeks of games to overcome a five-goal deficit.
Taylor Raddysh has his first NHL goal-scoring streak as he blasted a shot from the right circle over Hart’s blocker and into the upper corner of the net. Victor Hedman set up the rookie by harnessing a loose puck in the neutral zone and cruising into the Flyers end of the ice.
Hedman started the next goal as well. With the puck on his stick he skated to an open area and wristed a shot on net. Ross Colton was firmly planted in front of Hart and distracted him as Boris Katchouk swooped in and poked the puck into the net for his first NHL goal.
Hart’s night was over after a monumental gaffe made it 5-0. With the Flyers on the power play, the Philly goaltender came out to play a loose puck in his own zone. He tried to bang it up the boards past Mathieu Joseph and failed. MoJo corralled the puck and slid it between Hart’s legs and into the net. Bolts up 5-0, Hart to the showers early, boos reigning down from the crowd, and Martin Jones into the game.
Even when Philly scored they didn’t. With 2:40 left in the period Oskar Lindblom deflected a puck over the Lightning goal line that Zach Bogosian was a little late to clear. However, the official didn’t see it cross the line so there was no call on the ice. As play headed out out of the zone the goal horn finally sounded and halted play. The refs went to the replay booth and determined the puck did go in, but Lindblom had deflected it with a high stick. No goal.
We’ll switch to the heat map after the middle frame. The Flyers may have lead in regards to shot attempts by a rather wide margin (60.29% CF), but they were all coming from the perimeter. Look at that clear ice right in front of the Lightning net. The Lightning D were keeping Elliott’s crease absolutely problem-free.
There wasn’t much sustained pressure from the Lightning in the Philly zone, but they were uber-efficient on the transition.
Entering the third period up five goals against a struggling team while on the second half of a back-to-back would be as good as any time to take a period off. However the Lightning came out with some of their strongest possession time of the game and not only did they not give up a goal early, they added to their lead.
Hedman picked up his third assist of the night by pinching in along the boards and working the puck over to Corey Perry. The veteran forward made a nifty stick-handling move to open up some space before feeding the puck to Pat Maroon. Maroon jammed the puck past Martin Jones to make it 6-0.
It wasn’t just the goal though, the Lightning were still doing the little things that had built the lead. There hard work was highlighted by Katchouk busting down the ice on the backcheck and lifting Scott Laughton’s stick just as the Flyers forward thought he could tap home a two-on-one pass.
Philadelphia did convert on a power play about midway through the period. The Bolts were shorthanded after Cal Foote took exception to his goaltender getting tripped up and started a scrum behind the net. With the extra skater Cam Atkinson deflected a puck past Elliott off of a shot from Gritty’s BFF, Claude Giroux and the shutout was, like Ben Franklin’s bifocals, history.
The crowd that stayed around to boo the Flyers were treated to yet another Corey Perry goal as he did his own deflection work on a shot from Ryan McDonagh on the power play to make it 7-1. That would be the final score.
It wasn’t a great start for the Lightning and without some strong play by Elliott in the first, it could have been a different game. That being said, they also didn’t let up once they had built the lead, something that has plagued them at times this season. They took advantage of a struggling team and didn’t give them a chance to get back into the game.
It was good to see almost all of the lines contribute on the scoresheet. The Kid Line is starting to get some results for their hard play and while they’re not going to replace the Greatest Third Line in Lightning History (trademark pending) in the memory of fans, they are doing what the coaching staff is requesting from them.
The big early lead really allowed Coach Cooper to manage his players minutes. Victor Hedman only played 18:29 and no forward had more than 18:12. With a young line-up, it was an excellent opportunity to get them some ice time.
Elliott looked really calm in net, a good sign for the Lightning back-up. In some of his earlier starts he was moving around a lot and taking himself out of position for follow-up attempts. There was none of that tonight.
On to Canada for the rest of the road trip!
Ryan McDonagh (Steven Stamkos, Mathieu Joseph) 1-0 Lightning
Corey Perry (Ryan McDonagh, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare) 2-0 Lightning
Taylor Raddysh (Victor Hedman, Ross Colton) 3-0 Lightning
Boris Katchouk (Ross Colton, Victor Hedman) 4-0 Lightning
Mathieu Joseph (unassisted) Shorthanded 5-0 Lightning
Patrick Maroon (Corey Perry, Victor Hedman) 6-0 Lightning
Corey Perry (Ryan McDonagh, Ross Colton) Power Play Lightning 7-1
Why even bother showing it? Trust us, they scored one goal.