Game 52: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 this evening, extending their winning streak to 6 games straight.
Significantly, tonight's win marks the first six-game winning streak since winning six in a row from January 22, 2004 to February 2, 2004.
But more than the winning streak, tonight was important because the Lightning returned from the All Star break in as good form as they left it, and made a good start in the lengthy home stand, in the third of twelve games at home.
Last, with the win, the Lightning have inched closer to the top of the Eastern conference, now sitting second in the East with 69 points, trailing Philadelphia's 71.
The point is, it's refreshing to see the Lightning meet expectations, and live up to the challenge.
The Lightning had a decisive first period against the Flyers, opening the scoring 19 seconds in, with a goal from Teddy Purcell.
"We wanted to have some desperation, and we came off fresh," Purcell noted afterwards.
After one goal, the Lightning didn't wait, taking the puck up the right side of the ice, which resulted in a second goal from Purcell.
The third Lightning goal came at the end of the first period. At 14:24, Steve Downie took the puck from Martin St. Louis in the Lightning end zone, and skated all the way down to the end to raise the score 3-0.
At the end of the first, the Lightning were leading 3-0 with only 6 shots on goal, but were putting up a tough effort nonetheless.
The fourth goal came in the third period, when St. Louis found an opportunity near the Flyers bench when the Flyers were changing lines. St. Louis took the puck and traveled up the left side, passing it to Steven Stamkos at the right circle, where Stamkos scored the fourth Lightning goal, his 39th this season.
To the Flyer's credit, they outshot the Lightning 38-22 by the end of the game, but were unable to do any damage against Dwayne Roloson.
Perhaps the story for tonight rests with Simon Gagne, who is once again showing that he has finally found his groove, taking home two points.
Regarding facing his old team, Simon Gagne said that tonight was different, that it was a "bit more relaxed."
In first game in October, he said, "Going back there was different, seeing the fans one last time, getting a great welcome from them was a little bit special. Tonight I was able to play my game, and it was fun. It was a good feeling to get the two points at the end."
And with 6 goals in the last 9 games, the success is more than just a good feeling. When all there was to say about Gagne in the beginning of the season was speculation, it's rewarding to see Gagne reaching his element.
"It was just a question of time, and when you get one going, after that you definitely get a little bit more confident and it's a good feeling."
The Lightning will continue their home stand on Friday, February 4 against the Washington Capitals. If you're around, stop by the game thread and give us a hello!
Flyers vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]
Flyers vs Lightning recap [TSN]
Flyers vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]
Broad Street Hockey [SB Nation]