The Flyers didn't bring their A-game to a game they needed it.
There would be no giant killing Saturday as the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-3, at Amalie Arena.
Goals from Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux weren't enough for the Flyers (32-20-7), who are 6-3-2 against the Bruins, Lightning, Capitals, Penguins and Blues, the league's top five clubs.
Tampa Bay is the only one the Flyers haven't beaten. They'll get a final crack at the Lightning on March 12 in the same building.
The Lightning (39-15-5) have won 10 straight games.
• This really wasn't a bad loss for the Flyers.
They were at the end of a road trip and playing the NHL's hottest team. Tampa Bay is 22-2-1 over its last 25 games and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 19.
The Flyers entered Saturday with a 66.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com, and still hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot (see standings).
Alain Vigneault's team just needs to recharge and be ready for a big home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets next week.
• Things got chippy in the second period. Travis Konecny was right in the middle of it all.
Steven Stamkos appeared to trip Giroux before a faceoff. Giroux didn't even look to be that mad about it.
During the final 6:09 of the middle frame, 22 penalty minutes were accrued.
“Me?”— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) February 15, 2020
That guy being All-Star Travis Konecny. pic.twitter.com/mjcw5oMzg4
Amazing show of disrespect by Stamkos towards Giroux. Purposely tripped him before a draw with a slew foot. Was not called a penalty!— Chris Therien (@ctherien6) February 15, 2020
• Brayden Point (10-game point streak) is good at hockey.
Brayden Point, everybody. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/gK9ZorJWGL— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 15, 2020
• Carter Hart, who was coming off his first road victory since Nov. 10, allowed four goals on 23 shots.
The 21-year-old wasn't the problem.
The first goal was a fluky one by Alex Killorn. On the second, Provorov was sloppy with the puck in the defensive zone and Tampa Bay capitalized to take a 2-0 lead into first intermission.
In the middle stanza, the Lightning beat Hart on a 3-on-2 to grab a commanding 3-0 advantage. Tampa Bay improved to 33-4-3 when it scores three or more goals.
Not only are the Lightning really good, but the Flyers also didn't play their typical forechecking, possession-based game until it was too late.
Killer on the board first! ☑️ pic.twitter.com/oAIjHjeJm0— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 15, 2020
Ceddy on the spot! pic.twitter.com/ymSbHQRF6B— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 15, 2020
This pass from Heddy... 😍 pic.twitter.com/V4gsdzht39— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 15, 2020
• Outside of the van Riemsdyk's third-period goal, Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong with 30 saves, 15 of which came in the final stanza.
Vasilevskiy improved to 18-0-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .940 save percentage over his last 19 starts.
• Provorov was far from his best against Tampa Bay but he did score the Flyers' first goal to trim the Lightning's lead to 3-1 in the second period. He also had an assist.
The 23-year-old has grown into a power play quarterback this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with seven man advantage goals after scoring only two over his first three NHL seasons.
• Travis Sanheim played 19:43 minutes Saturday after missing almost the entire third period of Thursday's 6-2 win over the Panthers because of a lower-body issue.
• The Flyers are off Sunday, practice at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Voorhees, New Jersey and host the Blue Jackets Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
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