Top Line Clutch As Tampa Bay Lightning Win Second Straight
It hasn’t happened in a long time, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have now won two straight, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 behind important contributions from their top line of Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell and Martin St. Louis.
Stamkos notched his 200th career NHL goal–21st this season– and added an assist, while Purcell deflected Keith Aulie‘s point shot past Ilya Bryzgalov for the game-winner. This marked the first time in over a month that Tampa Bay won two consecutive games.
Tonight was a chance for Lightning fans to celebrate though. No, the game didn’t clinch a playoff berth, but Stamkos became the fourth youngest player to reach that coveted 200 goal plateau. Not bad for a guy former coach Barry Melrose said “wasn’t ready for the NHL.”
The team battled through two periods of back-and-forth hockey before finally taking the lead for good. Of course, Anders Lindback‘s outstanding play didn’t hurt, as the Lightning were outshot 24-20 after two periods but still remained in things.
There were also some emotions (as expected when playing the Flyers), with young gun Radko Gudas going after Zac Rinaldo for his hits on Ryan Malone and Victor Hedman. Both guys left the game and, according to coach Guy Boucher in his post game comments, have “upper-body injuries that need to be reassessed.” Personally, I feel the one to Malone is suspension-worthy because Rinaldo targeted his head, and that’s something the league’s trying to get rid of. Regardless, I will provide updates on both when they become available.
Now, the Lightning will try to make it three in a row when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night in Toronto. Though not easy, Tampa Bay’s proven anything is possible.