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Betts and Richards score two; Flyers actually win at hockey

[Boxscore] - [Tampa Bay Coverage]

Final - 12.23.2009 1 2 3 Total
Philadelphia Flyers 2 0 3 5
Tampa Bay Lightning 0 2 0 2

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They may have taken the second period off, but two goals a piece from Blair Betts and Mike Richards were enough for the Flyers to overcome it, as they beat the Lightning 5-2 tonight. Simon Gagne also added an empty netter, just his second goal of the season.

Philadelphia carried all the momentum into the second period, entering it with a 2-0 lead. But a few early penalties by the Flyers allowed Tampa to get their offense in sync a little more, and while they didn't score with the man advantage, it was clear that it gave them some jump. They would wind up scoring two goals while the orange and black sat back and let it happen.

Give the Flyers credit for taking the game back in the third period, though. Peter Laviolette said after the game that he thought the third period was even better than the first for the Flyers, and that despite a lull in the work ethic department in the second, they really turned it on in the third.

A lot of fans seem to be dwelling on the negatives of the second period, but for the majority of the game, the Flyers played much better than they have in any recent game. Was it perfect? Far from it, but you have to start somewhere.

After the jump, a few more thoughts on this one, questions with answers, and the comment of the night on an evening where it seemed like most people were out doing last minute Christmas shopping.

Some more assorted thoughts...

  • Michael Leighton wasn't brilliant, but he did the job he's supposed to do. He's a backup to the backup goalie, and guys like that aren't supposed to win you hockey games. He allowed the Flyers to win, however, and that's just swell.
  • Tampa got a lot of pucks on him -- 33 shots, to be exact -- but most of them were rather weak, or rather Flyer-like, if you'd prefer that phrasing.
  • Mike Richards was all over the ice tonight and looked extremely determined. Always a good thing.
  • Peter Laviolette called timeout halfway through the second period as you could kind of sense the momentum shift. It didn't work as Tampa went on to tie the score, but it's refreshing and nice to see a coach pull out all the stops.
  • The number one and number two penalty men in the league, Tampa's Zenon Konopka and Dan Carcillo, almost dropped the gloves in the first period. Instead, just a little hugging.
  • Blair Betts had the first two goal game of his career tonight.

Questions With Answers

  1. The starting 18 are finally healthy.  Can they begin forming chemistry, tonight? I thought so. Well, at least better than it has been. It goes back to what Laviolette has been preaching over the last few days. These guys know each other and they're all very talented. When they're able to just go out and play hockey, chemistry and ultimately success will come.
  2. Does Michael Leighton play well enough to win tonight? Yes sir.
  3. Can the team score more than 1 goal? Yes, they even scored the first goal, which they haven't done in quite some time.
  4. The never-ending question:  Can the PP get it going? It looked better than it has, and Richards scored his first goal with the man advantage. One for three on the night.

Comment of the Night

Does Richards know it’s legal to pass in a 2-on-1?

>> Ben Feldman, just before Richards scored without passing on a 2-on-1