for this game

Gagne, Forsberg help Flyers end futility

Dec 29, 2006 - 7:00 AM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- The odds were stacked against the Philadelphia Flyers in their attempt to halt a franchise-record losing streak. Someone forgot to tell Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg.

Gagne scored a pair of goals and Forsberg added three assists as the Flyers ended their 10-game slide with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After dropping the opener of their eight-game road trip at Florida on Wednesday, the Flyers entered the St. Pete Times Forum losers of 10 straight meetings with the Lightning. Philadelphia's last triumph over Tampa Bay came here on April 4, 2003.

"Thankfully, we got the win," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "It's so much easier to teach when you win. There haven't been a lot of smiling faces around here lately."

Things got off to a good start for the Flyers as defenseman Alexei Zhitnik cashed in during a power play four minutes into the game. However, Martin St. Louis netted his league-leading 25th goal and ninth in 11 contests midway through the opening period to forge a 1-1 tie.

But Gagne scored the next two tallies, beating goaltender Johan Holmqvist with a shovel shot with 3:19 to go in the first and staking the Flyers to a 3-1 lead by converting a pass from blue-liner Joni Pitkanen 9 1/2 minutes into the middle period.

Playing in his second game after missing three with a concussion, Forsberg set up each of Philadelphia's first three goals to record his second three-point effort of the season.

"It's fun to get Peter back," Gagne said. "It helps our line a lot."

Sami Kapanen made it a three-goal bulge by scoring on a breakaway with 18 seconds left in the second. But Philadelphia was forced to hang on as defenseman Filip Kuba and former Flyer Ruslan Fedotenko scored in the third to pull Tampa Bay within a goal.

"They made it tight there, but the bottom line was the work ethic was terrific, the effort and fight on the puck was terrific," Stevens said. "There's no question you want to win hockey games, and we haven't beaten this team in a long, long time."

Pitkanen had two assists and Robert Esche made 42 saves in his first start since November 18 for the Flyers, who also stopped their five-game road skid in winning for the first time since November 30.

"We needed to stop this streak and we also had a long losing streak against Tampa Bay," Forsberg said. "It was great to get the win. It's been a struggle. We have not played as good as we wanted. As a team, I think we played a good game."

Defenseman Dan Boyle set up a pair of goals and Brad Richards notched his 400th career point with an assist for Tampa Bay, which has dropped six of nine.

"Two bad changes cost us two goals, and that is a detail that comes back to haunt you," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "I can look at our hockey team and just sense where we are going. We can turn it around at certain times and not play that way the whole game. (The Flyers) just looked looser and beat us to the puck."

"It's a game we've got to win at this time of the year against a team that's struggling," Boyle added. "We need a more balanced attack."

In winning the first two meetings of the season with the Flyers, the Lightning did not allow a goal in the first two periods of the contests. Zhitnik put a quick end to that streak, receiving a pass from Forsberg and skating down the left side before beating Holmqvist to the short side at 4:01 of the first period.

St. Louis drew Tampa Bay even six minutes later, when he corraled Eric Perrin's deflection near the left goalpost and deposited it into the net. But Gagne restored Philadelphia's lead by converting a cross-slot feed from Mike Knuble for his 18th tally.

Gagne struck again midway through the second, firing the puck past Holmqvist from the top of the crease off a pass by Pitkanen. Kapanen increased the advantage to 4-1 when his wrist shot beat Holmqvist to the stick side, just inside the left post.

"The first half of the game, we were just running, we were desperate," Richards said. "There was a lot of emotion in the third, and a bad start got us in the hole."

Kuba began the Lightning's comeback attempt with a power-play goal 78 seconds into the third and Fedotenko made it a one-goal deficit by grabbing a rebound in the slot and firing a shot by a diving Esche with 5:58 remaining.

"It's not about the second and third periods, it's early on in the game," Tampa Bay captain Tim Taylor said. "We put ourselves behind. We tried to be too cute."








  • ------------------------------------
    Philadelphia
    2 2 0 --4
    Tampa Bay 1 0 2 --3
    ------------------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Philadelphia, Alexei Zhitnik 3 (power play)
    (Peter Forsberg, Joni Pitkanen), 4:01. 2, Tampa Bay, Martin St. Louis
    25 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Dan Boyle), 10:06. 3, Philadelphia,
    Simon Gagne 18 (Mike Knuble, Peter Forsberg), 1

    Dec 28 10:05 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 4
    TAMPA BAY 3 5:58 LEFT, 3RD PRD

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 9:52 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 4
    TAMPA BAY 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) FILIP KUBA 5 (BRAD RICHARDS, JOHAN HOLMQVIST) 1:18

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 9:30 PM


  • ------------------------------
    Philadelphia
    2 2 --4
    Tampa Bay 1 0 --1
    ------------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    ----------------------------------
    Philadelphia 12 8 --20
    Tampa Bay 12 18 --30
    ----------------------------------

    Goalies : Philadelphia, Robert Esche (30 shots, 29 saves). Tampa Bay,
    Johan Holmqvist (20 shots, 16 saves). Referees: C

    Dec 28 9:12 PM


  • ------------------------------
    Philadelphia
    2 2 --4
    Tampa Bay 1 0 --1
    ------------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    ----------------------------------
    Philadelphia 12 8 --20
    Tampa Bay 12 18 --30
    ----------------------------------

    Goalies : Philadelphia, Robert Esche (30 shots, 29 saves). Tampa Bay,
    Johan Holmqvist (20 shots, 16 saves). Referees: C

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 9:12 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    TAMPA BAY 1
    2ND PRD: PHI - SIMON GAGNE 19 (JONI PITKANEN, PETER FORSBERG) 9:30

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 8:47 PM


  • ------------------------
    Philadelphia
    2 --2
    Tampa Bay 1 --1
    ------------------------

    FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Philadelphia, Alexei Zhitnik 3 (power play)
    (Peter Forsberg, Joni Pitkanen), 4:01. 2, Tampa Bay, Martin St. Louis
    25 (power play) (Eric Perrin, Dan Boyle), 10:06. 3, Philadelphia,
    Simon Gagne 18 (Mike Knuble, Peter Forsberg), 16:41. Penalties: V
    Lecavalier, Tam (hooking),

    Dec 28 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - SIMON GAGNE 18 (MIKE KNUBLE, PETER FORSBERG) 16:41

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 8:10 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 25 (ERIC PERRIN, DAN BOYLE) 10:06

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 7:57 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    TAMPA BAY 0
    1ST PRD: PHI - (PP) ALEXEI ZHITNIK 3 (PETER FORSBERG, JONI PITKANEN)
    4:01

    Flyers vs. LightningDec 28 7:46 PM