The Tampa Bay Lightning headed into game four of a five game road trip with a 3-0-0 record. Following early season struggles scoring in the first period the Lightning have been able to begin getting early first period leads. Today’s game saw the Lightning head to the City of Brotherly Love to face a Philadelphia Flyers team which ranked second in the NHL heading into this game in the power play. The Bolts look to go 4-0-0 on this road trip. Andrei Vasilevskiy would get the nod in net for the Lightning.
Tampa throughout the first period were able to shut down the second ranked power play unit in the NHL forcing the Flyers to go 0-3 with the man advantage. New assistant coach Todd Richards has done a great job with the special team units since joining the Lightning. Heading into today’s game the Bolts ranked 13th on the penalty kill. One issue is that Tampa gave the Flyers power play unit three opportunities in the opening period. Luckily the Lightning were able to convert on their lone power play chance in the first period. Tampa passed the puck perfectly as they entered the Flyers zone. Alex Killorn took the puck to the left of Philly goalie Steve Mason and faked a shot. Seconds later following the fake Killorn quickly passed off to Tyler Johnson who on the right side had a wide-open net due to the fake. Philly would out shoot the Lightning 12-6 in the first period, eight of those shots coming with the man advantage.
Andrei Vasilevskiy would continue his strong play so far this season as the game headed into the second period. The play of this youngster gives fans hope for the future without top goalie Ben Bishop who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Philadelphia would continue to out shoot the Bolts well into the second period, but Victor Hedman started a play that gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead. Hedman would cause a turnover from Claude Giroux that would allow Vlad Namestnikov to rush into the Flyers zone. Quickly he dropped the puck to Ondrej Palat who would skate in front of Steve Mason and shoot it past the Flyers netminder to give Tampa a two-goal lead seven minutes into the second period. Throughout the first two periods Vasilevskiy kept the Lightning in the game turning away 18 shots from the Flyers.
Philadelphia would continue their pressure into the third period, but Vasilevskiy would hold them to no goals as the offense for the Lightning continued showing what they can do without their Captain Steven Stamkos. With the puck, deep in their zone Ondrej Palat would find a streaking Jonathan Drouin. The young forward would corral the puck before slipping it past Steve Mason for the third goal of the game for the Lightning. The number two ranked power play unit couldn’t figure out how to get an odd man advantage goal against the 13th ranked penalty kill of the Lightning. Near the mid-way point of the period the Lightning held the Flyers scoreless in five attempts. Tampa would never lead in shots on goal at any point in the game, but with Vasilevskiy in net and the offense they never needed to. The Lightning have a good issue nearing the quarter mark of the season. Two starting goalies playing like to starting goalies. Andrei Vasilevskiy will become the sixth goalie in Lightning history to have shutout’s in back to back games (Islanders and Flyers).
The Lightning will head to the Music City to face the Nashville Predators Monday night as they look for their first perfect road trip of the season.
3 Stars of the Game
1st Star – Andrei Vasilevskiy: His offense gave him the lead and the first and he took it from there.
2nd Star – Ondrej Palat: Notches 2 points in the game (1G – 1 A)
3rd Star – Tyler Johnson: Got the game’s opening goal on a beautiful pass from Alex Killorn.