Tuesday's game with the Flyers won't exactly show up on the highlight tape for Tampa Bay. But two points are not handed out for artistry in the NHL, only for victories. And though the Lightning's 5-1 victory against the Flyers looked ugly — even weird — at times, Tampa Bay will take the two points and hang them in the standings. Mathieu Garon was the backbone of the effort, stopping 31 shots including 16 in the first period, while Steven Stamkos scored twice to pull into a tie for the league lead with 22 on the season, matching New York Rangers forward Marian Gaborik. Steve Downie added a goal and assist, Vinny Lecavalier scored for just the second time in the past 14 games while Marty St. Louis picked up an assist to give him points in all three games since returning from a facial injury. The Lightning, who began a three-game homestand, have now won three of their past five games and have points in four of those five. "I think everybody chipped in tonight and everybody worked hard, sometimes that's what you need for a stretch like we have had,'' Garon said. "Starting out at home with a win is a good thing. But we just have to focus on one game at a time.'' The victory came after the loss of defenseman Victor Hedman to an undisclosed upper body injury after hitting the boards early in the first period and the temporary loss of Eric Brewer following a fight with Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds in the second. By the end of the game, the Lightning were outshot, 32-16, by one of the top offensive teams in the league despite the lopsided-looking result. "You take them any way you can get them when you are struggling,'' Stamkos said of the victory. "If you look at the factors, the style of play we wanted to play, tight defensively, then losing two defensemen (to injury) ... change the game plan even more and we had to be a lot more disciplined. They didn't look like they were having very much fun out there, but we got the win.''
Stamkos, Garon lead Lightning past Flyers, 5-1
Tampa Tribune | Dec 28