Bryzgalov, Sestito lead Flyers over Lightning

Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tom Sestito's two goal effort.“I have one move” said Tom Sestito to Flyers announcer Steve Coates. “and hopefully no goalie catches on to it. If it works once, I’m going to keep doing it until it stops working.”  The Philadelphia Flyers (4-6) won a close one last night 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-3), thanks to Tom Sestito’s two goals. Both of Sestito’s goals were on the same move, a quick forehand backhand glove side shot. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who was stellar yet again with 21 saves on 22 shots, called Sestito a Russian sniper. Bryzgalov gave him the name “Sestitov” in his post game interview.

The story of the game was the Flyers forecheck and great goaltending by Bryzgalov. Entering last night’s game the Tampa Bay Lightning led the NHL with 38 goals, averaging just under 5 per game. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette had a brilliant game plan designed to beat the Lightning’s scoring attack. Laviolette, who usually runs a really up-tempo aggressive system, had his team play more conservative in the defensive zone after an aggressive forecheck. It worked as the Lightning were 0-4 on the power play, which entered the game at 38% efficiency, leading the NHL.

Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo set the tone for the game right off the bat as B.J. Crombeen instigated a fight. As we all know Rinaldo will not turn down a fight, and he made Crombeen pay. Three hard rights to Crombeen’s head left him woozy and unable to return to the game. Watch the fight here: Rinaldo KO’s Crombeen Rinaldo had fired up the crowd and the Flyers played a scoreless first period, which is a win vs the Lightning, who leads the NHL in first period goals. In the second period, the Flyers scored the first goal of the game off a tremendous pass from Jakub Voracek to Sestito, who then did his now-infamous move to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

In the third period, Tampa Bay tied the game on a horrific defensive breakdown by normally smart Bruno Gervais, who let Benoit Pouliot camp in front of the net. Pouliot received a great no look pass from Teddy Purcell and buried the game-tying goal. Not two minutes later, the Flyers scored the game winner on a terrific counter attack by the checking line. Max Talbot started the rush along the right boards, and had Ruslan Fedotenko and Tom Sestito in a 3 on 2. Talbot crossed Tampa Bay’s blue line and centered the puck. Fedotenko then tipped the puck perfectly to Tom Sestito, who once again went forehand to backhand for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

The Flyers that stood out last night other than Bryzgalov and Sestito were aplenty. But a few who drew my attention were Kimmo Timonen and Luke Schenn, they each made almost every correct play, and it seemed as they both magically found their legs in the off day prior to the game. Both had been haunted by slow skating earlier this season, but they really skated well last night. Another stand-out was Jakub Voracek. Struggling to help on offense this year, mostly due to playing on a defensive line, Voracek was in control each time on the ice, as his line was in the offensive zone more often tonight.

The Flyers take on the Florida Panthers Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center at 7 pm. The Panthers are coming off a tough overtime loss last night to the Winnipeg Jets.

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Josh Collacchi

Josh is what we like to call a "4 for 4" Philadelphia sports fan, who lives in northern Delaware. Season ticket holder to the Phillies and former season ticket holder for the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers. Currently attending Wilmington University majoring in Business/Sports Management. He works for the local utility company but, as most of us, his real passion is Philadelphia Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JCollacchi