TAMPA — Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said his fight Sunday night with Luke Schenn was "no big deal" and "it just kind of happened."
But teammates saw the scrap 5:09 into the first period at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as the focal point of a 5-1 victory over the Flyers that tied the Lightning, at 4-1-0, with its third-best start in franchise history, before a crowd of 19,204.
"It charged up the whole rink," center Steven Stamkos said. "It charged up our whole team. Everyone sees Vinny as our leader, and for him to go out there and defend himself and not back down, the whole bench is on its feet."
Then came one of those bonding moments teams talk so much about. Two minutes later B.J. Crombeen challenged Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
Crombeen got six minutes in penalties, Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds got two for helping Giroux, and the Flyers got a four-minute power play that Tampa Bay killed with one shot allowed to keep the Flyers' lead at 1-0.
After that it was all Lightning, which got goals from Lecavalier, Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman.
Marty St. Louis had four assists. Purcell had three points, and Sami Salo played 25:36 with two assists.
Tampa Bay scored twice on the power play, blocked 26 shots and was 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Anders Lindback made it stand with 24 saves. His only blip: Sean Couturier's sharp-angle goal 59 seconds into the game that somehow got between the goalie's right skate and post.
"Total buy-in from our guys," coach Guy Boucher said.
Whether Lecavalier wants to admit it, it started with his fight. "I don't want to say that," said the center, who had seven hits. "It was a team effort."
But as Crombeen said, "To see your leader step up like that, it gets everyone engaged. A great move by a great leader."
As for going after Giroux, Crombeen said, "If they're going to challenge our leader, we're going to challenge their leader and see if they want to do it that way."
The four-minute penalty kill solidified the sequence. The Lightning got on pucks quickly and put sticks in passing lanes. The only shot was Matt Read's at the end of a three-on-one, and Lindback made a sprawling left-leg save.
"Guys wanted to fight for Vinny and Crombeen," Boucher said. "To me it was guys sticking together. We're a very different team. We're big now. We're tough. We're committed to defense. It's something very positive."
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Couturier 2 (Talbot), :59. 2, Tampa Bay, Purcell 1 (Stamkos, St. Louis), 14:34 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Brewer 3 (Purcell, St. Louis), 16:10. 4, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 2 (St. Louis, Salo), 18:55 (pp). Penalties—L.Schenn, Phi, major (fighting), 5:09; Lecavalier, TB, major (fighting), 5:09; Simmonds, Phi (roughing), 7:15; Crombeen, TB (holding, interference, roughing), 7:15; Simmonds, Phi (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:51; Giroux, Phi (hooking), 16:27; Knuble, Phi (tripping), 18:11; Pouliot, TB (tripping), 19:47.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Brewer, TB (cross-checking), 3:26; Stamkos, TB (cross-checking), 17:35.
Third Period—5, Tampa Bay, Hedman 2 (Hall, Salo), :58. 6, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 3 (Purcell, St. Louis), 12:29. Penalties—Coburn, Phi (holding), 10:27; Gervais, Phi (interference), 13:16; Simmonds, Phi, misconduct, 16:52; Tyrell, TB (tripping), 17:43. Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 6-11-8—25. Tampa Bay 13-5-8—26. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 0 of 6; Tampa Bay 2 of 5. Goalies—Philadelphia, Leighton 0-1-0 (26 shots-21 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 3-1-0 (25-24). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:34. Referees—Gord Dwyer, Kevin Pollock. Linesmen—Tim Nowak, Anthony Sericolo.