Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lightning Strike Flyers for eighth straight time in Philly

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Martin St. Louis notched the game-winning goal late in the second period, adding a pair of assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning topped the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-3, at Wachovia Center.

Dan Boyle, Jan Hlavac, Jason Ward and Vinny Prospal lit the lamp for the Lightning, winners in four of their last five overall as well as the last eight games in Philadelphia.

Tampa Bay has won 13 of the last 15 meetings between the clubs, and have not lost in Philadelphia since a 3-2 setback on January 18, 2003.

Johan Holmqvist was solid with 27 saves to earn his 20th win of the season.

Joffrey Lupul had a goal and one assist for the Flyers, who have dropped five consecutive games. Steve Downie and Jeff Carter also scored and Mike Richards picked up a pair of helpers in defeat.

Martin Biron made just 23 saves in his fourth straight losing decision.

The Lightning failed to cash in on a brief two-man advantage early in the second, but Boyle converted a busted play at 2:13 for a 2-2 tie. Biron went down to anticipate a Brad Richards point shot, but the puck ricocheted off Mike Knuble right to Boyle in the left circle.

Hlavac unleashed a rocket from the left faceoff dot to give Tampa a 3-2 edge just after the midway point of the period, and St. Louis used a deflection to make it 4-2 with 3:25 left.
Ward forced a dribbler through Biron from along the goal line early in the third, and Tampa went up by three.

However, Jones threw the puck to the net from the right boards near the point and Carter tipped it home for a 5-3 game with 13:18 to go.

Despite numerous opportunities for the remainder of the contest, including 10 shots on goal, the Flyers could not solve Holmqvist.

Tampa took a 1-0 lead 5:31 into the game. Flyers defenseman Jim Vandermeer lost the puck to the left of Biron right to St. Louis, who fed to Prospal alone in front for the easy goal. The Czech center posted a new career-high with 26 goals.

The Flyers knotted the game with nine minutes to go when Richards fed into the goalmouth hoping for Lupul. Although Lupul fell in the crease, the puck caromed off his right skate and into the net. A replay determined there was no kicking motion involved.

It was 2-1 on a short-handed goal with 36 seconds left in the period as Downie, fresh out of the penalty box, took a lead pass from Richards, carried down the left wing and snuck a shot through Holmqvist's pads.

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