Bolts beat Philly despite shaky third period

by Gary Shelton on February 16, 2020

in general

Vasilevskiy makes an acrobatic save on Flyers' Travis Konecny./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

In professional sports, no one throws a victory back. No one rejects success. No one declines a victory.

That said, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper wasn't exactly thrilled with the Lightning's 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena.

The Flyers, down 4-1 at one point, scored two goals in 44 seconds to come within one goal and make their defeat close.

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Lightning's Kucherov returned to the ice and scored a goal./CHUCK MULLER

"We've been on a pretty good run," Cooper said.  "It’s not too often I can criticize this team. They’re giving everything they have. You can’t be on top of your game all the time. Tonight was a way we found a way to win ... it probably wasn’t the right way to win."

It was Tampa Bay's 11th straight win at home, a new franchise record. The Lightning is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games.

The Lightning took a 3-0 lead on goals by Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette and Carter Verhaeghe, but the Flyers never slowed down in a feisty game.

Brayden Point scored the Bolts' fourth goal, and Nikita Kucherov scored his 28th on an empty netter.

"I really liked the first (period)," Cooper said, "We had control of the game for probably the first 30 minutes. We weren’t giving them anything. They were making pushes here and there.

Point extended his point streak to ten games./CHUCK MULLER

"They pushed. We really respect that team. They’re good. They pushed and we didn’t push back. To be honest, we got loose. In a season where we’ve made so much progress, that was a period people haven't seen out of us in in a long time."

The Bolts are now 39-15-5 and, for the second time this season, have won 10 straight games.

"This is a tough road trip," Cooper said. "We're playing a Colorado team that’s extremely strong, a Vegas team that’s on the top of their game now and an Arizona team that’s fighting for the playoffs. We’re going to have to play better than we did in the third period But like I said, this team has trended upward for the last two months. It’s a good thing we find ways to win when we’re not on top of our game."

"We're in a little bit of a rut now," Cooper said.  "If this was going to be our rut, and they can turn it around in a month or, so we’ll be okay with that. There's some things we’re going to move things around. We’ll be okay, though. I trust those guys."

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy won his 32nd game of the season, stopping 29 of the 32 shots he faced. He's 19-0-2 in his last 21 games. His streak of 21 games with a point is tied for fourth in the history of the NHL.

The Bolts play Monday night in Colorado at the Pepsi Center. The puck is scheduled to be dropped at 9 p.m.

Sergachev exchanges shoves with the Flyers' Travis Konecny./CHUCK MULLER

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