for this game

Denis, Lightning send Flyers to another one-sided defeat

Oct 20, 2006 - 2:28 AM TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- While the Tampa Bay Lightning forgot about their problems for one night, the Philadelphia Flyers' issues don't appear to be getting better any time soon.

Marc Denis made 34 saves and Ruslan Fedotenko and Vaclav Prospal both scored against their former team as the Lightning posted a 4-1 triumph over the struggling Flyers.

Tampa Bay entered with four losses in its last five games but got healthy against a team it has owned in recent seasons. The Lightning have won nine straight regular-season meetings with the Flyers, in addition to a seven-game victory in the 2004 Eastern Conference finals.

"We have to carry over (this win), obviously," Denis said. "To win a hockey game, we know we are capable of doing that on a consistent basis. Tonight we got past that first period, something we haven't been able to do so far this season, then got the lead in the second by two, which we also haven't been able to do. Little by little, step by step, we'll get there."

Meanwhile, Philadelphia (1-5-1) has scored just five goals during its four-game losing streak and sits in last place in the Eastern Conference with only three points.

The Flyers released three players - including veteran center Petr Nedved - on Wednesday, one day after an embarrassing 9-1 defeat to Buffalo. While they were better defensively in this one, the outcome still left coach Ken Hitchcock with much to be desired.

"Both teams played hard and we're desperate and hungry," Hitchcock said. "It was a game we can build on. We have to be able to capitalize on our scoring chances if we're going to get a lead, especially on the road because we can't keep chasing teams."

"We have to be ready for everything right now," Flyers left wing Simon Gagne said. "I totally agree with what (owner Ed Snider and general manager Bob Clarke) said in the paper (Wednesday). We have to find a way. It's up to us right now, we have the team in the locker room. Some changes were made (Wednesday) and, if we don't find a way to stop it, I'm sure something else is going to happen."

Ryan Craig, who left with a knee injury in the second period, opened the scoring 7:38 into the middle session. Fedotenko doubled the advantage just over six minutes later and Prospal made it 3-0 midway through the third period after Fedotenko forced Mike Knuble into a turnover behind his own net.

"This (win) was very important," said Tampa Bay center Brad Richards, who had two assists. "It was a tough couple of days to think about the last game. We have a big game Saturday, a divisional foe (Washington). We'll worry about that then, but for now it was business taken care of here."

Denis turned aside 13 shots in the first period and 14 in the second before losing his shutout bid when Sami Kapanen beat him for a shorthanded tally with 4:12 to go.

Still, coach John Tortorella was more than satisfied with the play of his new goaltender.

"One of the things with Marc Denis that I think has gone a little unnoticed is he's just solid," Tortorella said. "There's not a bunch of movement, there's not a bunch of panic in his play and I think that's good for our team to see that."

After Robert Esche surrendered all nine goals in Tuesday's loss, Antero Niittymaki made 32 saves for the Flyers, who also lost captain Peter Forsberg in the second period when he sprained his wrist and did not return.

"It got stuck against the boards," Forsberg said. "It got squeezed. Hopefully it's just a sprain and will just be a week or so."

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