TAMPA, Fla. -- Truly, a blown opportunity.
The Flyers had a chance during this two-game road trip to return home over the .500 mark, but instead dropped both games with disturbing losses.
They began the road trip two points out of a playoff spot and could have changed that. Instead, two flat efforts at Florida and now Tampa Bay.
Witness the 4-2 loss to the Lighting on Wednesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, in which the Bolts scored every which way: Even strength, power play and shorthanded.
That's pretty bad considering no Steven Stamkos and starting goalie Ben Bishop got hurt at the morning skate, although backup Anders Lindback was the scheduled starter, anyway.
Yeah, the Flyers got goals from Vinny Lecavalier and Mark Streit at the bitter end, but for 50 minutes they were outplayed, outhustled, outeverything.
Jon Cooper’s Bolts came out flying at the start. Just as in Florida, the Flyers were a tad flat and stayed that way much of the game.
Although Tampa outshot the Flyers 14-7 that period, the Flyers had the best scoring chance by being awarded a penalty shot and failing to convert. The gap in shots only widened throughout the night.
The turning point came past the midway mark of the second period when the Bolts scored twice to make it 2-0.
Ondrej Palat’s shorthanded goal was the crushing blow, as the Flyers did a very poor job of backchecking on the play.
The Flyers came into here having lost four straight in this arena while being outscored, 16-5.
The Bolts scored an empty-netter at the end, too.
The Flyers announced during warmups that winger Matt Read would miss the game with a lower-body injury, presumably incurred during the 3-1 loss in Florida on Monday. That explains why Michael Raffl was in the lineup. Read rode a stationary bike in Tampa on Tuesday, as did some other players who elected not to skate. Read did not practice with the team on Tuesday (see story).
Jakub Voracek took a puck to the mouth in the second period but returned.
During the first TV timeout, the Lightning aired a video tribute on their humongous HD scoreboard, capturing highlights from Lecavalier’s 14-year career here. Lots of applause with him and Brad Richards holding the Stanley Cup, plus a standing ovation from the crowd. Lecavalier acknowledged the fans with a wave of his glove at the bench. The club had a second tribute to him later in the period for his charitable work within the community at the Vinny Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Wayne Simmonds was awarded one with 3:14 left in the first period after being hooked from behind by Victor Hedman on a breakaway. Lindback got his right pad on Simmonds’ attempted backhanded lift shot.
Penalty shot count
The Flyers are 0 for 3. Simmonds twice failed to score; Adam Hall once. Coming into the game, players in the NHL were 2 for 21 on penalty shots. All-time, the Flyers are now 19 for 49.
Ray Emery was outstanding in the second period, facing some very tough shots. Good combo save early on J.T. Brown’s shot in the slot, and then stopping his follow in the paint by covering up. The Flyers were loose in front of Emery.
Shades of Kane
Victor Hedman’s goal that made it 1-0 midway into the second period looked a lot like Patrick Kane’s Game 6 Cup clincher for Chicago back in 2010. Odd angle toss from the left goal line.
The Flyers had a brutal mistake on the power play as Tampa scored a crucial shorthanded goal soon after Hedman’s goal to make it 2-0. Kimmo Timonen’s point shot was blocked. It resulted in a two-on-one with Hedman and Palat. Emery made the stop on Hedman, but the rebound went directly to Palat for an easy deposit. Both Claude Giroux and Voracek were slow on the backcheck. The Flyers were 1 for 2 on the power play.
Tampa hammered the Flyers in the first period, winning 64 percent of the draws.
Scott Hartnell took a decision over Eric Brewer in a lively second-period match. It was Hartnell’s first fight this season.
The Flyers were outshot, 35-21.
Read (injured); defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros were healthy scratches.