Michael Stuart: Sniping Stamkos Powers Lightning Past Flyers

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Their performance was miles from perfect, but the Tampa Bay Lightning did manage to beat the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-3 on Thursday night at Amalie Arena. Buoyed by a two-goal, three-point night from Steven Stamkos, the Bolts strung together a second straight victory and moved their record to 7-3-1.

Thanks in large part to a very hot start, Tampa was able to get on the board early.

Only 3:29 into the first period, Vladislav Namestnikov tipped an Anton Stralman shot past Ray Emery for the 1-0 lead.

While Namestnikov and Stralman certainly deserve credit for the goal, Jonathan Drouin, who was credited with the second assist, is equally worthy of praise. His great work protecting the puck along the boards allowed the Lightning to maintain possession, and ultimately score the game’s opening tally. That second assist was Drouin’s fourth career point in only his sixth career game. Even in very limited minutes, the rookie is still finding ways to contribute.

After dominating the game’s first few shifts, the Lightning sagged as the first period moved along. That allowed the Flyers to take control, and eventually even things up at one. Wayne Simmonds drove to the net and potted his sixth goal of the year just less than 13 minutes into the contest.

The game’s next goal didn’t come until the final minute of the second period, when Steven Stamkos beat Emery with a disgustingly good wrist shot. On their fourth man-advantage opportunity of the game, Stamkos took a feed from Jason Garrison and wired the puck past the Flyers’s goalie from a tough angle. Words can’t do the shot or goal justice. Watch the replay.

What’s so great about Stamkos is that he can break any game wide open, even on occasions when he’s not at his best. That was the case on Thursday. It wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that Stamkos was very average to start the game. He found himself trapped in the defensive zone on a few shifts. He was part of a power play unit that bungled three straight opportunities early in the second. And, yet, all it took was one shot to get the ball rolling. He’s that kind of player.

The captain scored his second of the game to put his Bolts up 3-1 just 5:30 into the third period. His eighth (!) goal of the year was a patented Stamkos one-timer from the circle, assisted beautifully by Valtteri Filppula.

Philadelphia needed two goals in 15 minutes to tie the game. They got their first at 6:38 when Jakub Voracek beat Ben Bishop with some solid work in the slot. They got their second with less than a minute left in the contest. The trouble for the Flyers was that Jason Garrison had sandwiched his first of the season right in between. A classic Garrison bomb from the point, assisted by Stamkos and Filppula, proved to be the game winning goal. The Lightning walked out of Amalie with a 4-3 win.

It’s true that the Lightning’s performance on Thursday was far from perfect, as noted throughout this blog. Still, as the old golf saying goes, there aren’t any pictures on the scorecard. They don’t ask how, only how many. The fact of the matter is that the Bolts grabbed two points against the Flyers, and managed to inch closer to top spot in the Atlantic Division.

As always, thanks for reading. Michael Stuart has been the Tampa Bay Lightning writer for HockeyBuzz since 2012. Visit his archive to read more or follow him on Twitter.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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