The Tampa Bay Lightning wanted nothing more than to take home a win in Philadelphia for former Flyers and current Lightning forward Simon Gagne.
It’s safe to say Gagne left his old hometown happy.
Pavel Kubina’s goal early in the third period would serve as the game-winner, as Tampa Bay handed Philadelphia it’s first regulation loss of the season, 3-2, Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Gagne, who was traded to Tampa in the offseason for defenseman Matt Walker, played 16 minutes and was held scoreless with a minus-1. Walker has yet to play a game with the Flyers.
With the game locked at one in the second period, a Matt Carle turnover and bad rebound by goaltender Brian Boucher ended up on the stick of Tampa’s Dominic Moore, who took the original shot then finished it five-hole to give his team the 2-1 lead going into the third.
Boucher’s five-hole was once again found, this time early in the third period by Kubina, who blasted a ice-level slap shot through traffic and the wickets of Boucher, to give Tampa the 3-1 advantage.
Danny Briere cut the Lightning lead to one midway through the final stanza, when, after a strong shift in the Tampa zone, he wristed one past Dan Ellis. It was Briere’s third of the season.
Nik Zherdev got his first of the year, when he tied the game at one in the first period on a JVR cross pass that hit the crashing Ukrainian and into the net.
Flyers’ Penalty Kill — Coming into Thursday’s contest, the Flyers had killed off 15-of-17 man-down situations and scored two short-handed goals. And they kept rolling against the Lighting. The Flyers’ penalty killers limited Tampa’s talented man-advantage to no goals in six attempts and received shorthanded chances of their own from Claude Giroux and Mike Richards. The Flyers are currently sitting in the top tier of the NHL in penalty kill, shutting down 23 of it’s last 25 for a 91.3% kill rate.
Simon Gagne Tribute — Giving 10 seasons to the Philadelphia Flyers organization, Simon Gagne was treated as the man-of-honor on Thursday. The team played a highlight tribute video during a TV timeout in the first period, which drew a chilling standing ovation. Classy move by the Flyers and the fans, who have the reputation of hating everything and everyone.
Danny Briere — Danny Briere’s tally in the third period was his third goal in four games. In an offense that hasn’t been consistent, especially on the power play, Briere’s point production at center has been godsend for the Flyers and could keep them afloat until special teams heats up.
Matt Carle — It should be noted that aside from Thursday’s loss against Tampa, the 26-year-old blue liner has had a very good start to the 2010-11 season. But it wasn’t pretty in this one. In the first period, Carle let Steve Stamkos beat him to the top of the crease and it led to a goal. In the second period, Carle’s turnover led to the original shot by Dominic Moore, then, Moore beat Carle to the rebound for another goal. Carle led the team with two giveaways and a was a minus-1. Not a good game from a good player.
Brian Boucher — In his second start of the season, Brian Boucher looked like a back-up goaltender. Although skater turnovers didn’t help his cause, Boucher left a bad rebound to Dominic Moore, who then trickled a weak shot through Boucher’s legs. The soft goal led to another in the third period, when Boucher had another shot go through his legs and in, this time from the blue line past traffic. Boucher made 21 saves on 24 shots and had the home crowd lightly chanting “Bob” for 22-year-old rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Flyers’ Power play — Unable to set up the play, get shots through traffic or simply not turn the puck over, the Flyers look like a team that has to go back to the drawing board on the man advantage. Going 0-for-4 on Thursday, including the botching of a nearly full two-minute 5-on-3 power play early in the first, Philadelphia is now just 1-for-17 on the season, hitting at a 5.9% pace. That ranks them 27 of 30 teams.
Dan Carcill0 — Has anyone seen Dan Carcillo? Not the one, who in the last few games has been unable to keep up with his offensive line mates, but the one who would literally try to rip the heads off the opposition. Carcillo has seven hits, no fighting majors and no points in the first four games of the season, while averaging an ever-shrinking 8:25 of ice time a game. Carcillo needs to be an animal to be effective and he’s simply not contributing.
Steve Downie — Tampa forward Steve Downie, drafted 25th overall by the Flyers in 2005, has become the type of player that the Flyers had hoped Dan Carcillo could be. Gritty, angry and able to put up points, Downie received a fighting major (with Sean O’Donnell) and two key assists, propelling his team to victory.
Tampa Bay Lightning — The organization that has been left for dead the past few seasons, is now 3-0 on the year and has done so in impressive fashion.