TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—The Flyers’ record-breaking slide is over.
Simon Gagne scored two goals, Peter Forsberg had three assists and Robert Esche made 42 saves, helping Philadelphia stop a franchise-record, 10-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
“Thankfully, we got the win,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “There haven’t been a lot of smiling faces around here lately. The bottom line, I thought the work ethic and the fight on the puck was terrific.”
“It’s been a struggle,” Forsberg said. “We have not played as good as we wanted. As a team, I think we played a good game.”
Philadelphia also ended a 10-game regular-season losing streak against the Lightning. The Flyers’ previous win against Tampa Bay came on April 4, 2003.
“I felt like it was a big game for us,” Forsberg said. “We needed to put a stop on this losing streak we had, especially playing Tampa. We had a long losing streak against them too, so it’s great to get a win.”
“We’re going to get ourselves out of this,” Tampa Bay center Brad Richards said. “It’s got to stop.”
The Flyers went up 4-1 in the second when Gagne scored his second of the game at 9:30 and Kapanen had a breakaway goal with 17.9 seconds remaining.
Kuba had a power-play goal at 1:18 of the third before Fedotenko cut the Lightning deficit to 4-3 with 5:58 to play.
Zhitnik stopped a personal 21-game goal-scoring drought to put the Flyers up 1-0 on the power play at 4:01 of the first. After St. Louis’ 5-on-3 power-play goal tied it at 10:06, Gagne made it 2-1 during a 2-on-1 with 3:19 left in the period.
“We needed a good start and it just wasn’t there,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “No excuse, and I have no explanation.”
Esche made a glove save on Dan Boyle’s shot from the top of the top circle during a 1:08 5-on-3 Tampa Bay power play midway through the second. The goalie was making his first start and second appearance since undergoing right groin surgery on Nov. 29.
“It’s a game we’ve got to win at this time of the year against a team that’s struggling,” Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle said. “We need a more balanced attack.”
Washington (1975) and San Jose (1993) hold the NHL record for consecutive losses with 17. The third longest skid was 15-games by the Philadelphia Quakers from Nov. 29, 1930-Jan. 8, 1931. The Quakers ceased operations after finishing the 1930-31 season with a 4-36-4 record. … The Flyers called up G Scott Munroe from Philadelphia of the AHL to replace injured G Antero Niittymaki (slight left hip strain). RW Darren Reid was reassigned to the minors. … Richards assisted on Kuba’s goal for his 400th NHL point.