Game 25: Tampa Bay Lightning versus Philadelphia Flyers

Another nostalgia-soaked night at the Forum finds the Lightning coming away with a win, this time a 4-2 effort against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Wednesday night.

Everyone thought it would be weird to see former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier with a new number on a different uniform actually on the home ice of the Forum and it definitely was. Following the tribute to current Lightning captain Martin St. Louis on Monday, tonight it was Lecavalier's turn, making his first appearance in Tampa Bay wearing anything other than Lightning colors after signing with the Flyers in the offseason. As befitting a guy who was literally the face of the franchise for virtually his entire time here, there was a video of Lecavalier's highlight goals and a longer tribute commemorating his role in the Tampa Bay community (see game notes below).

"It was very weird stepping out on the ice, obviously we didn't win and I'm disappointed with that but it was a great experience. I was a little nervous before the game, but being out there in warm-ups and seeing people in my jersey, it really got me and it really meant a lot. I've got nothing but great things to say about the fans, this organization, and Mr. Vinik." - Lecavalier

But this didn't turn into Vinnypalooza the way Monday's game became Marty Gras. In spite of a more sluggish start than Monday's game, this one got down to business of being just another game relatively quickly.

The first period was a sloppy one, marked by poor passing and an inability by either team to enter or maintain puck control in the offensive zones. The Lightning outshot Philadelphia 14-7 but the period ended in a scoreless tie. Wayne Simmonds was awarded a penalty shot at 16:46 of the first but was turned away by Bolts netminder Anders Lindback.

The score remained deadlocked at zero until more than halfway through the second, when Victor Hedman scored on a shot taken from near the boards right along the goal line that dribbled past Flyers goaltender Ray Emery. Nate Thompson and Tyler Johnson were credited with assists.

At 12:16, Ondrej Palat scored shorthanded on Hedman's rebound. Andrej Sustrr contributed the secondary assist.

The Lightning carried the 2-0 lead into the second intermission.

Next, it was Hedman's turn to be the beneficiary of a fortunate rebound, cleaning up after Teddy Purcell at 5:00. Valttteri Filppula also had an assist.

"It's really hard for a goaltender to see around him, and he's got reach, obviously it paid off in the end. He was the best player on the ice no question. When he's like that, he puts himself in the upper echelon of defensemen." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper on Hedman

With around two minutes remaining, things got unnecessarily interesting. First, Lecavalier the returning hero cashed in a power play goal, geting help from Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit at 18:07.

40 seconds later, Streit scored with help from Claude Giroux to suddenly trim the Lightning lead to a single goal.

Before things could get too entertaining, Johnson finished things off with an unassisted empty netter at 19:26.

The Lightning will continue their current homestand on Friday when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the unusual start time of 4:00 PM.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning honored former captain Vincent Lecavalier as the 12th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Lecavalier, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation.Lecavalier has made a huge impact in the Tampa Bay community both on and off the ice. Since being selected first overall by the Lightning at the 1998 NHL Draft, his leadership has been felt by not only his teammates, but families in desperate need. Inspired by a tireless want to give back to the Tampa Bay community, Lecavalier started his own charity in 2003, The Vinny Lecavalier Foundation, with a strong focus on supporting youth programs and serving chronically ill children and their families. He donated $3 million to All Children's Hospital to build one of the largest pediatric cancer centers in Florida. The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center in St. Petersburg has impacted hundreds of families over the past 10 years.The former Lightning captain and Stanley Cup Champion, Lecavalier will forever hold a special place in Bolts fans' hearts. Lecavalier is the Lightning all-time leader for games played with 1,037, goals with 383 and power-play goals with 112. He made four NHL All-Star Game appearances while he was a Bolt and also won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's top scorer during the 2006-07 when he scored 52 goals.
  • The Lightning's home winning streak is now at seven games and they are 10-2-0 at home on the season.
  • During this home winning streak, the Bolts have outscored opponents 31-14.
  • In spite of the poor outcome of the recently completed road trip, the Lightning have picked up points in 12 of their last 17 games overall (11-5-1).
  • Tampa Bay is now 6-0-1 against Philadelphia in their last seven home games.
  • The Bolts penalty kill is 60 of 66 (90.9%) in their last 20 games.This, after starting the season allowing seven power play goals in their first 22 attempts (68.2%).
  • The Lightning are now 12-1-0 when scoring first and 11-1-0 when leading after two periods.