An angry Tampa Bay Lightning team is a scary team, and the Philadelphia Flyers learned that the hard way Tuesday night at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning entered their tilt against the Flyers fresh off their most embarrassing loss of the season — a 6-0 drubbing to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh that extended their losing streak to five games. But in their return home following the rout, the Bolts weren’t about to let this Flyers team keep the skid going any further.
Predictably, the Flyers fell to the Bolts 5-2 for their 40th loss of the season. The Flyers have now lost nine of their last 11 outings.
Joel Farabee and Travis Sanheim — both of whom have struggled as of late — were benched in the second period, and head coach John Tortorella wasn’t exactly in a mood to give any ringing endorsements after the game.
“I don’t know where I go there,” said Tortorella.
Tortorella did end up letting Farabee and Sanheim see the ice in the third period, but not for long. In total, Farabee and Sanheim both earned less than 13 minutes of total ice time.
“(I was) trying to see if they will answer the proper way. Yeah, I’m not sure where I go there.”
Morgan Frost opened the scoring early in the first period off a cross-ice feed from Farabee following a Lightning turnover in the neutral zone. From that point on, though, the Lightning slowly began to morph back into the team fans have become accustomed to seeing in recent years.
Alex Killorn quickly responded to Frost’s marker with a tally on the power play to get his squad on the board. And after the 1-1 first period, Tampa started to run away with it in the middle frame.
The second period was particularly rough for Carter Hart. After giving up goals to Nikita Kucherov and Ross Colton, Hart fell down behind his own net to allow Killorn to easily score his second goal of the game.
Hart, who has largely been outstanding for the Flyers this season, finished the night with 34 saves on 39 shots against.
Carter Hart falls down behind the net and Alex Killorn scores his second goal of the night to make it 4-1. pic.twitter.com/Z7k84GVA8G— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) March 8, 2023
Not long after Hart’s behind-the-net gaffe, trade deadline acquisition Brendan Lemieux scored his first goal as a Flyer with a redirection off a Cam York wrister, cutting the Tampa lead to a pair of goals.
The Flyers had their opportunities to make things interesting late in the game, but defenseman Tony DeAngelo put any chances of a comeback to bed with a boneheaded penalty in the game’s final minutes.
With just 2:40 remaining in regulation, DeAngelo was assessed a game misconduct for spearing Lightning forward Corey Perry where the sun don’t shine after the whistle. Every Lightning player on the ice then dogpiled DeAngelo in response, and rightfully so.
Kucherov scored his second goal of the night for good measure during the ensuing power play.
Don’t be shocked if DeAngelo ends up facing disciplinary action for his low blow.
“He tried to slash my stick out of my hands a second beforehand. He talks all game. I asked him to fight. Doesn’t want to fight. He’ll tell you that he’s asked me to fight for years. I don’t say no,” said DeAngelo.
“I wasn’t trying to give him a shot. The replay probably looks a little bit worse than it was meant to be, but it is what it is. I took 30 punches on the ground, and when I get up they don’t let me do what I gotta do. So it’s whatever.”
If you're wondering why the Lightning players were so upset with Tony DeAngelo, well... pic.twitter.com/dA56UBlKuf— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) March 8, 2023
Beating the Lightning is never easy. But when you take six penalties against them? You’re basically asking for a loss. Tampa went 3-for-6 on the man advantage Tuesday night, which is essentially the kiss of death for a Flyers team that struggles enough as it is to score goals.
With a 24-29-11 record on the season, only the Columbus Blue Jackets, the NHL’s cellar dweller, sit below the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division standings.
The Flyers have two games remaining on their road trip. They’ll face off against the Hurricanes Thursday night in Raleigh before wrapping up their road trip Saturday in Western Pennsylvania against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their next home game comes Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights.