This was a Lightning team that was not mentally prepared to play tonight.
Johan Holmqvist stopped just 22 of 26 shots he faced tonight for the loss. Dan Boyle had a pair of assists for the Lightning who got goals from Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba and Ruslan Fedotenko. Individual assists went to Eric Perrin, Brad Richards, Holmqvist and Vincent Lecavalier.
The Flyers came out in the first five minutes of the game and really ambushed the Lightning with a lot of speed and hustle, but that isn't what cost the Lightning the game. Mental mistakes destroyed the team in this game and three goals came directly from preventable Tampa miscues. Holmqvist allowed an awful short side goal to go through him on Zhitnik's opening goal, they allowed a 2-on-1 on a bad defensive change on the second goal and Paul Ranger fell down surrendering a breakaway on Kapanen's winning goal. This is a team that's just 1 point out of the basement in the Southeast Division now and they continue, time after time, to play down to inferior opponents and leave critical points on the table. This was the Lightning's 38th game so we're just shy of the midway point of their season and no one in that lineup seems to have gotten the memo that the drive to the playoffs has to start now. Better to get the points you need now than be sitting in March four or five points out of the hunt scoreboard watching desperate for help.
Philadelphia 4:01, Alexei Zhitnik 3 (power play) (Peter Forsberg, Joni Pitkanen)
Tampa Bay 10:06, Martin St. Louis 25 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Dan Boyle)
Philadelphia 16:41, Simon Gagne 18 (Mike Knuble, Peter Forsberg)
Philadelphia 9:30, Simon Gagne 19 (Joni Pitkanen, Peter Forsberg)
Philadelphia 19:42, Sami Kapanen 5 (Jeff Carter)
Tampa Bay 1:18, Filip Kuba 5 (power play) (Brad Richards, Johan Holmqvist)
Tampa Bay 14:02, Ruslan Fedotenko 10 (Dan Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Slovakia allowed three unanswered third period goals today falling to Sweden 6-3. Lightning prospect Vladimir Mihalik had 1 goal in the game and was +1 with 1 shot on goal. Marek Bartanus was scoreless with no shots on goal in the loss. Now at 0-2, Slovakia's medal round chances are on life support heading into a matchup Saturday against Team USA. The Americans were mentioned among the pre-tournament favorites but have also fallen to 0-2 early in the tournament and will be just as desperate as the Slovaks to get a victory to try and salvage their medal round hopes.
If this keeps up, they're going to have to treat Cey for PTSD.
Morgan Cey, fresh off of stopping 59 shots in Johnstown's last game, stopped 47 of 50 shots faced tonight for the loss. Radek Smolenak had both Chiefs goals with assists going to Zbynek Hrdel, Andrew Martens and Adam Henrich. Hrdel's assist snapped a 9 game long scoreless streak for the former Rimouski Oceanic. Andre Deveaux missed the game due to a one game suspension suspension stemming from his match penalty against Toledo on December 23rd. The Chiefs were outshot 51-23 on the night. Goaltender Gerald Coleman remains out due to a groin strain. Radek Smolenak's two goal effort extended his point streak to four games. The 2005 3rd rounder has 5 goals and 6 points over that span, stepping up in the absence of veteran Randy Rowe and rookie sensation Maxime Boisclair who are in Springfield on recall.
TOL Zultek, (9) (James, Martin), 9:26 (PP)
JHN Smolenak, (10) (Hrdel, Martens), 15:20 (PP)
TOL Attard, (2) (Maunu, Magowan), 2:56 (PP)
JHN Smolenak, (11) (Henrich), 6:55
TOL Burke, (3) (Tardif, Martin), 5:45 (PP)
TOL Attard, (3) (Watson, Martin), 19:52 (EN/PP)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.