Youth powers Flyers in five-goal third in victory over Tampa

The Flyers youth emerged as four of the six goals were scored by players 25 years of age or younger.
The Flyers youth emerged as four of the six goals were scored by players 25 years of age or younger. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Flyers came in having lost two straight, while Tampa had won two straight. Neither streak continued as Philadelphia used a five-goal third period to cruise to a 6-2 win. It was a solid rebound from a crazy game against the Penguins in which the Flyers scored the same number of goals, but Cal Petersen was not sharp in giving up seven.

The Flyers had lost their last eight games on home ice when facing the Lightning. Their last win at the Wells Fargo Center was in 2017. To put into perspective how long ago that was, Radko Gudas and Michael Raffl were two of the goal scorers in the 4-2 win. Raffl spent three and a half more seasons with Philadelphia, while Gudas played two more seasons after that.

That’s all to say that it has been a long time since the Flyers have been able to beat Tampa on home ice. But the Lightning aren’t the powerhouse team they used to be. Keep Nikita Kucherov off the scoreboard, and you have a chance. He did have one assist, but not allowing him to score was huge because he was credited with a game-high five shots.

Power Outage

Over six minutes into the game and with the Flyers up 1-0, the Wells Fargo Center lost partial electricity. Some lights around the arena, including part of the scoreboard, went out. It took a while for things to get figured out. It later came out that a transformer on the event level went out. Thankfully, no one was injured because of it.

But the game would be delayed for approximately nine minutes. Both sides were asked if they wanted to continue playing the game. It was deemed there was enough lighting in the building to continue playing. That was asking the goaltenders if they were good to play. The power outage would affect them the most in terms of being able to see the puck. While it was different, the two sides continued to play while the lighting was worked on.

The power would begin to return during the second period. Lou Nolan was unable to call any of the actions. Referees were forced to yell out the final seconds of the period. And the Jumbotron was out of action.

Overall, it was a unique experience to be a part of. But the Flyers would power through it with a strong final period.

Five-Goal Third

The Flyers and Lightning entered the third period tied 1-1. Bobby Brink, scoring on his first shift, gave Philadelphia the lead before the power outage. He had just returned from a successful stint in the AHL. Gaining his swagger back was part of the reason for going down to the Phantoms in the first place. Scoring on your first shift back in the NHL proves that the temporary demotion worked.

That isn't the only thing the Flyers want to see from Brink. His all around game will need work as he gets more time at this level. But if he can start scoring consistently, it will help the team out either way. Nick Paul would tie the game in the second period with teams skating at 4-on-4. And then the third period happened.

Tyson Foerster remained hot, scoring in his third straight game with a confident move just 54 seconds into the period. When players start to see the puck go in the back of the net with frequency, you tend to see it reflected in the chances they are willing to take. The puck follows them around and they have the confidence to pull off moves they normally wouldn’t.

That’s evident in his move to put the puck between his legs to get around the defender. Adding the low-shot backhander was a sign that Foerster has more confidence in his shot. Shooter’s shoot and that’s what Foerster is doing lately.

Travis Sanheim inched closer to his first 10-goal season in the NHL. Entering the zone, Noah Cates skated to the middle of the ice to escape Kucherov. He dropped it back to a streaking Sanheim. Gliding toward the right dot, Sanheim wristed a shot that went top-shelf. Andrei Vasilievskiy was dealing with a screen from his teammates, not allowing him to see the shot. 

Philadelphia wasn’t done there. Sean Walker’s name continues to be a part of trade deadline rumors. Will the Flyers trade Walker or hold onto him, risking losing him for nothing? Regardless, Walker helped himself by scoring his sixth goal of the season. Stealing the puck in the neutral zone, Joel Farabee chipped it past Darren Raddysh to Walker. Walker dragged the puck around the stick of Victor Hedman and fired it over the shoulder of Vasilievskiy.

Down 4-1, Tampa risked things by going with the empty net with about nine minutes remaining. Steven Stamkos cut the lead to 4-2 three minutes after that. It was the closest they would get. Keeping the net empty, Noah Cates grabbed an empty netter with a shot from the neutral zone. The net was still empty when Cam York hit a long-distance empty netter to bring the game to its eventual 6-2 final. 

12 different Flyers earned at least a point, while Sanheim, Frost, and Cates finished with two points. Philadelphia was lifted with strong play from its youth. Four of the six goals were scored by players 25 years of age or younger.

The win pushed the Flyers gap on the third spot in the divison back up to six points. They can further their gap when they face the Washington Capitals on Friday.