The Philadelphia Flyers lost another pivotal game tonight in Tampa Bay, as the Lightning handed the visitors a 4-2 loss. Teddy Purcell deposited the game-winner halfway through the third period, while Steven Stamkos recorded his 200th goal in the NHL in a two-point effort. Max Talbot and Claude Giroux were the only Flyers to beat Anders Lindback, as Tampa Bay’s goaltender made 28 stops for the victory.
With the tilt tied at two midway through the third period, Purcell tipped home his sixth of 2013 to hand the Lightning two points tonight in Tampa Bay.
Stamkos managed to grab a loose puck in the corner to Ilya Bryzgalov’s right midway through the third period immediately after the hosts killed off a tripping minor to Radko Gudas. Stamkos then passed it to Keith Aulie at the point, who let go of a shot towards Bryz. Purcell managed to skate in front of Bryzgalov for a screen on his own redirection, which the forward put past Bryz while jumping in the air to give Tampa a one-goal lead with 10:35 remaining.
After the Flyers failed to put another shot past Lindback for the remainder of the third period, Stamkos finalized the score with an empty-netter for his 21st tally of 2013.
With the loss, the Orange and Black get to sit back and watch the rest of the teams in the Eastern Conference gain ground on them for the next five days. The Flyers, who have now lost five of their last seven games, will face the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders, and the Boston Bruins over their next four games.
“It’s so frustrating,” Talbot said after another painful loss. “We played a good game, but not good enough to get two points. We competed, but we had two mistakes and it cost us. Now we got to look at Sunday.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette added on to Talbot’s point. “We need to win hockey games. Guys worked, but going into the third period, needing to pull out the third and not getting it done is disappointing. It wasn’t for a lack of effort.”
Ondrej Palat put the Flyers down early with his second goal of his NHL career 6:38 into the contest.
Dana Tyrell put a pass between two Flyers just inside Philly’s blue line to Palat in the slot, who deposited his second goal in as many games through Bryzgalov’s five-hole.
Talbot evened the score on an amazing individual effort for his fourth tally of 2013.
Talbot controlled the puck along the boards to Lindback’s left and worked his way to the slot after he split Purcell and Martin St. Louis. Moving the puck from his forehand to his backhand, Talbot slid the biscuit through Lindback’s legs to make it 1-1 with 6:05 left in the opening stanza.
With less than three minutes left in the first period, Tom Pyatt was the benefactor of a great play by Tyler Johnson, as he potted his sixth of the campaign to restore Tampa Bay’s lead.
Victor Hedman stretched a pass from blue line to blue line for Johnson, who shrugged off a Luke Schenn hit before he found himself in the corner to Bryz’s left. Johnson then tossed it to the slot for Pyatt, who received the pass just outside the crease and put it home for the 2-1 lead.
The Orange and Black came out flying in the second period and owned the momentum in the frame until Giroux tied the game at two. After he had an impressive dangle that set up a Flyers’ power play, Giroux turned defense into offense for his ninth of 2013.
Cory Conacher nearly scored on a wrap-around attempt, but Bryzgalov denied the Bolt’s chance, which led to a rebound that sat in the slot. Giroux jumped on the loose puck and carried it through the neutral zone into Tampa Bay’s third of the ice before he tried to dish it to Sean Couturier. Conacher broke up Giroux’s pass, but Philly’s captain regained possession of the disc and ripped a wrist shot from the slot that clanked off the bottom of the crossbar past Lindback’s glove to make it 2-2 with 4:39 left in the middle frame.
Tampa Bay responded to the tying goal with a flurry of chances to close out the middle period, as the clubs entered the final 20 minutes tied at two.
After a long five-day break, Philly will look to rebound against a surging Pens’ squad, who are currently on a nine-game winning streak.
Notes: Tonight was Kimmo Timonen’s 1,000th game in the NHL. He had two shots on net and one blocked shot in 24:06 TOI on his birthday in his 428th contest as a Flyer…Talbot now has goals in back-to-back games and three in the last four contests. The last time Talbot scored in back-to-back games was when he potted three goals over Games 2 and 3 of last season’s ECQF against the Pens…Andrej Meszaros recorded his first point of the season with an assist on Talbot’s goal…With tonight’s loss, the Flyers dropped to 0-11-0 when trailing after the first period. They were losing 2-1 after 20 minutes…Philly has lost four straight road games. Their last win away from the Wells Fargo Center was their wild 6-5 win over the Pens at the CONSOL Energy Center on February 20th…The Flyers dropped to 4-12-0 on the road this year. The 12 road losses in regulation is the most in the NHL…Philly outshot Tampa Bay 30-27 tonight to drop to 7-8-1 when outshooting their opponents this season…Matt Carle took part in his 500th NHL game tonight. He was plus-1 with three shots on net, two hits, and three blocked shots in 30:06 TOI. He played in 308 games as a Flyer…Stamkos’ 200th NHL goal came in his 354th game. He leads the NHL this year with 21 goals…The Lightning improved to 3-9-0 against the Atlantic Division this season with two of their wins coming against Philly…The Flyers dropped to 1-2-0 against the Lightning this year and to 7-4-1 against the Southeast Division (CAR 2-0-0, WPG 2-0-0, TBL 1-2-0, WSH 1-1-0, FLA 1-1-1)…The Flyers dropped to 13-16-1. They were 20-7-3 after 30 games last season.