NHL Game Night: 10/14/10 Lightning at Flyers

In just two nights, the Lightning have served notice to the Canadian and American hockey media: Tampa Bay is back.

TB-3
PHI-2

Dan Ellis stopped 24 of 26 shots for the victory in his Lightning debut. Seeing Ellis and Smith on back-to-back nights, I have to say the contrast was pretty stark. Smith looks slow-footed and stiff as a statue in comparison.

First Period
TB 15:11, Stamkos 4 (Downie, St. Louis)
PHI 17:03, Zherdev 1 (van Riemsdyk, Giroux)

Second Period
TB 14:49, Moore 2 (Hall, Clark)

Third Period
TB 1:27, Kubina 1 (Downie, St. Louis)
PHI 9:59, Briere 3 (Leino, Carle)

Simon Gagne and Steve Downie were the game's first and third stars. Hmmm, wonder why the Philly media selected them?

The fact the Lightning look only about 85 or 90% comfortable with Guy Boucher's system and they can still go on the road and defeat the reigning conference champs in their own barn is eye opening. The Flyers had a lot of puck possession and quite a few quality chances in this game, but the Lightning were opportunistic and staked themselves to a 2-1 road lead going into the third period and then jumped all over the Flyers early in the final frame to get the insurance marker they needed to guarantee the win. That third period performance can be credited to a couple of things: the Lightning being in very good condition and the Lightning being three lines deep.

Michael Vernace had one blocked shot in 7:12 in the win.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.