The Tampa Bay Lightning come into Philadelphia on a two-game winning streak while the Flyers are coming off an overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings in which they were lucky to even get a point.
The last game between the Lightning and the Flyers ended with a five to three victory for the Flyers against one of the top teams in the league. And as with all good teams, the Lightning would not let a loss on home ice just be forgotten about.
The first period showed the Flyers were going to try and fix the lackluster play that they put on display in Detroit. The Flyers came out skating hard, making crisp plays, finishing body checks, and generate scoring chances. The Flyers outshot the Lightning nine to three and seemed to want to go into the All-Star break with a good effort. The Flyers were unable to put a puck past the Lightning’s All-Star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
As good as the Flyers played in the first period they played twice as bad in the second. The Flyers did not take long to show the effort was gone and this would be a long game for their fans in attendance.
Just twenty-five seconds into the period the Lightning took advantage of the Flyers lack of effort. As the Lightning power play ended the Flyers stopped skating in their end and allowed Tyler Johnson to go unchecked in the far corner. Johnson was not the only Lightning player allowed to stand around unchecked, Brayden Point found himself wide open in the slot to receive the pass from Johnson. The closest Flyer to Point was Claude Giroux who gave a half-hearted attempt at defending point who was able to skate in and beat Michal Neuvirth between the legs for the one to nothing lead.
The Flyers lack of effort and sloppy play continued when just before the halfway mark Brandon Manning seemed to find himself in no man’s land once again allowing an easy pass from Matthew Peca to a wide open Yanni Gourde to give the Lightning the two to nothing lead.
The Flyers looked like they might get a chance to turn the game around when Dan Girardi picked up a cross-checking penalty against Valtteri Filppula with just over three minutes to go.
The Flyers effortless play did not stop when the teams were at even strength it also extended to the power play as well. With just over thirty seconds gone in the man advantage, Ryan Callahan caused Jakub Voracek to turn the puck over just inside the Tampa blue line. The turn over by Voracek led to a shorthanded rush the other way. As Callahan entered the Flyers zone he faked a wrist shot that caused Shayne Gostisbehere to stop skating and try for the shot block. The hesitation by Gostisbehere allowed Callahan the opportunity to step around him and put the puck by the outstretched leg of Neuvirth for the three to nothing lead.
The Flyers showed some desperation in the first half of the third period and managed to generate a few scoring chances. Just over halfway through the period, Vladislav Namestnikov got called for interference on Andrew MacDonald sending the Flyers to their fourth power play. The Flyers managed only 8 shots on goal in the previous three times they went on the power play and also gave up the short-handed goal to Callahan. The Flyers pulled Neuvirth and nearing the end of the power play were able to get the puck to the red-hot Travis Konecny who put a wrist shot past the blocker of Vasilevskiy to give a spark to the Flyers with just under seven minutes to go in the game.
The Flyers had a chance to build some momentum and possibly attempt to get another quick goal but that would not be the case. Less than a minute after the Flyers scored they returned to the play that burned them three times in the second period. Jordan Weal turned the puck over at the Tampa blue line that led to a four on two rush the other way. Weal managed to catch up to the rush but completely missed an attempted check on Nikita Kucherov which allowed him to feed Vladislav Namestnikov for a one-timer that beat Neuvirth over his glove to once again give the Lightning a three-goal lead.
The sloppy play showed itself once again with just under three minutes to go in the game when Valtteri Filppula ran into Radko Gudas causing the puck to go right to the stick of Kucherov along the far boards. Once again Brandon Manning got caught playing too high in the defensive zone and allowed two Lightning players to get behind him. After the turn over Kucherov was able to find Steven Stamkos wide open in front of the net with a pass. Instead of taking the one time shot Stamkos decided to pass the puck across the front of the net to Namestnikov who had an easy tap in to put the game away and expanding the lead to four goals.
In the last two games, the Flyers have played the worst games since the ten-game winless streak back in November. The Flyers look like a tired team after playing the last five games in a ten-day span. it might be just what the Flyers need having the next five days off for the All-Star break.
The Flyers have only Claude Giroux going to the All-Star game this weekend so the rest of the team can take a much-needed break to recharge. The Flyers next game will be against the Washington Capitals who the Flyers defeated in overtime just two days ago. The Capitals will be looking to
make up for the loss. With the loss, the Flyers have fallen out of third place in the Metropolitan division and will need to play at their best to try and get back there with a win over Washington.