Flyers Shoot the Lights Out


It's entirely possible there are hotter sports tickets and parties in Tampa this weekend than Friday night's game between the Flyers and the Lightning. We didn't see the cameras pan to any done up NFL arm candy or reverse-agers, but there was that guy in the "Fire Bettman" shirt who flipped off the ref, and we hear tell that Condi was in attendance.

The St. Pete Times Forum did break out the creative lighting effects though. Play had to be whistled dead at one point when a power outage took out a portion of the arena lights. After checking with both benches and the goalie at each end, the refs resumed play, and you could hardly tell the difference between tonight's dimly lit ice versus the regular no-def quality of a CW telecast.

The Flyers opened the scoring on a hell of a breakaway goal by Mike Richards, who you'll remember got pretty creative in a recent shootout attempt.

For a short time, it seemed like it would be a close game, but thanks to a little help from the War Room in Toronto and some costly Tampa turnovers, this one was all Flyers.

Rick Tocchet's group had two would-be markers overturned by no-goal calls and War Room reviews, and man were they pissed. Mark Recchi deflected a shot in off of his lower leg, which after a review was deemed a kicking motion. I can't say I saw it that way, but when the Flyers get a break from the stripes, we gotta take it. It was basically all down hill from there for the Lighting, with the Flyers winning 6-1.

Steven Stamkos also had a goal disallowed after he batted the puck in with a high stick. That call looked right, but after getting jobbed on the Recchi goal, it looked like Tocchet was ready to go back to the dressing room for a pair of skates and some hockey pants. There was no end to Tampa's frustration, which culminated when goalie Mike Smith, who was charged with all six Flyers goals, was lifted in the third period. Smith was seen throwing a fit as he left the bench, dumping the stick bucket and tossing equipment in the tunnel.

A few of the Flyers' goals were long, and without much zip, so you have to wonder if the light-ing had any effect. One thing's for sure, Niitty didn't have much trouble tracking the puck. It's easy to point to the six goals as the reason the Flyers won convincingly, but Niitty also made 41 saves, including a Marty San-Louie penalty shot. But yeah, there were also quite a few Flyers goals...

Jeff Carter scored one of the aforementioned long shots, which was well-screened but from the blue line, and he also torched Smith up high. That second goal put in Carter back in the league lead, with one more than Alex Ovechkin. The sloppy turnover that led to it was likely what set Smith off, and understandably so.

All the highlights fit for NHL print:

Notes: Still with the team, but presumably not for long, Luca Sbisa was a healthy scratch. Hopefully the guys found a way to help him celebrate his 19th birthday... The negative PIM differential continued, with the Flyers earning 34 minutes to Tampa's 26. That includes two fights, a gritty win by Riley Cote and an angry throw down between Braydon Coburn and Ryan Malone... The Flyers were also outshot by 10, but their scoring percentage was just a little better... Scott Hartnell had a banner night with a goal and an assist, and Randy Jones scored on a back door powerplay set up. Richie set the pace two goals and an assist... The Flyers will jetset to St. Louis, where they drop the puck with the Blues Saturday night at 8:30.

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