Flyers eventually break through to beat Lightning
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It took an awfully long sustained assault to crack the Tampa Bay Lightning defense, but once again Shayne Gostisbehere was a game breaker for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers began carrying play right from the get-go, but the Lightning scored an early goal off a blocked shot. From there, Andrei Vasilevskiy played great and the Lightning penalty kill suffocated the Flyers on several power plays. The Flyers pressed even more, but it took an aggressive play from Ghost to get the Flyers on the board after dominating the shot board. With the seal broken, the Flyers scored three more times in the third period to win on a 4-2 final score.
With the Flyers dominating most of the game, every line is going to have good possession numbers. Despite this, the Claude Giroux line stood above. This group bounced back from a poor game against Columbus over the weekend, getting constant pressure. These three forwards combined for 13 shots on goal and two points each, as well as drawing three penalties on the Lightning. Most of this came against the Steven Stamkos line as well. Stamkos, in fact, only had one shot on goal the whole game while his linemates were held to no shots.
None of the other Flyers forwards got on the board, but the Sean Couturier line applied the pressure from which Ghost scored the all-important first goal. Otherwise this line had to deal the Lightning's "Triplets" line, losing that matchup in terms of possession and goals.
The Pierre-Edouard Bellemare line had a strong game. They had good possession numbers, and Bellemare himself was terribly unlucky not to score. He was stopped by a great save on a 2-on-0, and had another great shot hit the crossbar and sit tantalizingly on the goal line. Still, it's a good night when this trio has 13 shot attempts and threatens to score.
The pair of Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald don't loom large on the chart above, but Ghost will take plenty of headlines in this game. He scored two pivotal goals in this game, with which he sets the franchise record for goals by a rookie defenseman. To underscore the kind of impact Gostisbehere has had on games, all 14 of his goals this year have been of the game-winning or game-tying variety.
Next up is the "third pair" of Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning. Gudas didn't equal his four-point night, but it wasn't for lack of trying. He had another nine shot attempts tonight, but only one reached net. This pair didn't see much of the Lightning's top-six, but the total minutes piled up.
Marc Naples is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @SuperScrub47.