NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
(Wednesday, December 23rd)
Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Mike Richards tallied twice as the Philadelphia Flyers halted a four-game losing streak by downing Tampa Bay, 5-2, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Blair Betts recorded his first career two-goal game while Simon Gagne added a goal and one assist for the Flyers, who kicked off a six-game road trip by winning for just the third time in 14 contests.
Michael Leighton, in his first start since November 30, picked up the win with a 31-save performance.
Zenon Konopka and Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning, who had won two straight games. Mike Smith yielded four goals on 35 shots in the setback.
Oskars Bartulis took a shot from the high slot which deflected off Betts to give the Flyers a 3-2 edge with 9:59 left in regulation, and Richards finished off a 2-on-1 break for a two-goal visitors' edge with less than three minutes to play.
Gagne put the clincher into an empty net with 34 seconds remaining.
"We let ourselves down in the second period," Betts acknowledged. "We weren't keeping the game simple enough and making the most of our opportunities but that all turned around in the third."
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead one second less than four minutes in, as Bolts defenseman Andrej Meszaros accidentally redirected a Betts rebound try into his own net.
It was 2-0 on a Philly power play at 9:34 when Richards was alone at the side of the net to tap in a Gagne feed.
Tampa Bay failed to convert during a lengthy 5-on-3 early in the second period, but halved its deficit at 5:58 on a rebound score from Konopka.
Hedman tied the game with 7:58 left in the period on his top-shelf slap shot from the left circle.
"I'm sure guys were tired, especially after that road trip," said Lightning forward Steven Stamkos of his club's flagging energy after the second period burst. "Pretty much going with three lines, some of us were struggling, but you have to leave everything out there."
Leighton was picked up off waivers from Carolina last week, and made his first start with Philly since February 24, 2007. He also picked up his first win in a Flyer uniform since February 12, 2007, a 6-1 thrashing of Detroit...Flyers forward Darroll Powe returned after a 16-game absence due to a strained shoulder...Bartulis, Ian Laperriere and Claude Giroux all picked up two helpers for Philadelphia.
12/23 22:48:50 ET