Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Posted: 10:30 p.m. Updated: 11:50 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio
TAMPA, Fla. Sometimes, hockey can defy logic.
What are the odds that the Flyers get a Gordie Howe hat trick from James van Riemsdyk, a successful penalty shot goal from Darroll Powe and a shootout winner from Kimmo Timonen all in the same game?
I guess we ran out of options for the shooters, Timonen said after the Flyers 4-3 shootout victory Tuesday over the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum. Sometimes you have to put the d-man out there to do something else.
The shootout went seven rounds with Timonen winning it as the 13th shooter.
Though the Flyers downplayed it, this was a significant win. Twice this month the top the two clubs in the Eastern Conference have squared off by the water.
The Lightning continue to prove theyre the quicker team off transition, which is one reason why they won the season series, 3-1.
Should these two teams meet in the playoffs, its going to be interesting. Tampa, seeded second in the Eastern Conference, is now five points behind the Flyers in the overall standings.
The objective is to win hockey games its not about this or that, coach Peter Laviolette said. Making sure we can get home ice for as many rounds as we can. And when you have a team that is creeping up your backside, you make sure you win the game.
For me, that was more important the separation between first and second than just getting one win on the board against them.
Timonen saw it differently.
It was huge, Timonen said of the victory.
Added van Riemsdyk, You dont take it lightly when a team has won all three on you.
Newly-acquired right wing Kris Versteeg made his Flyer debut playing on Mike Richards line with Andreas Nodl most of the night. He logged 17:44 in ice time and was minus-1.
My heart was beating pretty quick out there, Versteeg said. I think once things settled down and the heart started beating a little slower it just felt quite a bit better.
Theyre a tough team to play against. They sit back quite a bit and you want them to come to you. We did a good job of being patient and really executing a game plan.
Versteeg felt he was overthinking at the start.
Were it not for Randy Jones breaking up a pass in overtime, Versteeg would have had a breakaway chance.
It would have been nice, he said.
Brian Boucher was sharp from the drop of the puck and good thing, too, because the Flyers were thoroughly outplayed and outshot 12-4 in the first period. Boucher finished with 24 saves.
Its not as big as the Ranger shootout win because that got us into the playoffs, but it was a big win for us against a team we havent beaten all year, Boucher said.
We had some games that could have gone either way Theyre a good team
Van Riemsdyks first goal in six games gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead after one period.
Besides notching his 13th goal, JVR also recorded his official NHL fight when he went after Jones, who stuck his knee out to trip up Claude Giroux and sent him spilling to the ice in what could have been a bad injury to the Flyers fleet-footed centerman.
You don't like seeing a guy on your team like G getting hit like that, JVR said. I know anyone on our team would stick up for a teammate and I just felt like it was my turn to get in there.
You could understand Dan Carcillo getting a Gordie Howe hat trick but JVR?
I dont know what the odds would be is someone bet on it in Vegas but its pretty unlikely, JVR said. Im sure Im gonna get some heat from buddies on this. Theyre gonna be all over me.
After I scored that goal, Carcillo was all fired up saying I needed to get the assist for the Gordie Howe. Kinda funny it worked out like that.
His goal came shortly after leaving the box. Giroux had the puck behind the Tampa net and centered into the high slot. Van Riemsdyk had to reach for the pass and actually was off-balance when he shot from the outer edges of the left circle over goalie Dwayne Roloson.
It was a nice play by G Giroux and Cartsy Jeff Carter in the offensive zone, van Riemsdyk said. I found a soft spot and they gave me a good pass and I was able to put the puck in the net.
Laviolette was impressed that JVR stood up for Giroux.
I thought he had a great game, Laviolette said. It was really good to see. I thought it was kinda a cheap hit and for him to jump in there like that, that says a lot about him and where hes come.
Last time these two clubs met on Feb. 1, Tampa played a trap. Well, the Bolts did it again with a 1-3-1. The Flyers countered by ragging the puck. During one shift, Chris Pronger just stopped in his own end and waited for someone to come toward him.
Thats their system, Timonen said. They play it really well and thats the reason why they win games. You have to be really patient against this team.
Patience paid off as the Flyers jumped ahead 3-1 in the middle period only to see the Bolts come back to tie.
Dominic Moore got the Bolts on the board at :59 with a shot off Andrej Meszaros skate. Seven minutes later, JVR shot from the high slot and Scott Hartnell tipped it for his 18th goal. That snapped Hartnells six-game goal drought.
Shortly after, Powe was pulled down on a shorthanded breakaway by Steven Stamkos. He converted the shot, making it, 3-1.
I was just coming in, I usually like to go backhand but I saw the blocker was kind of open so I just snapped it home, Powe said. It's a pretty cool feeling.
When Tampa resumed its power play, however, the Bolts scored twice in a minute to tie it. First, Vinny Lecavalier deflected a point shot past Boucher. Then, at even strength, Teddy Purcell one-timed a perfect pass from Pavel Kubina under the cross bar.
Recall that Purcell scored twice in the games opening 90 seconds during that 4-0 loss here earlier this month.
The third period was a standoff but Tampas trap was less effective.
I thought we controlled the puck and made the moves, Laviolette said. We got in the position we wanted to and eventually they had to change. I thought our players did a good job executing.
JVR eventually replaced Nodl on Richards line with Versteeg for some shifts. ... Powes penalty shot was the Flyers second of the year (Dec. 1, 2010 vs. Boston, Scott Hartnell denied). It was the first successful Flyers penalty shot since Danny Briere scored on February 13, 2010 at Montreal against Carey Price. It was Powes second career penalty shot, both of which have been successful. The last was April 4, 2009 when he was successful at Ottawa against Alex Auld. ... The shootout was the second longest the Flyers have participated in being introduced in 2005. The only longer shootout was when the Flyers lost a 13-round shootout to the New York Rangers on October 7, 2006. ...The Flyers are now 2-3 in shootouts this season. Timonens shootout goal was his first attempt this season. It was also h is first-ever shootout game-winner. Girouxs assist gives him at least one point in 11 of his last 13 games (3-13-16).
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