The Lightning's record winning streak ended with a dud Monday night, a 4-2 loss to the Flyers that shouldn't have been that close.
Had it not been for goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy's brilliant performance — 36 saves, many highlight-reel worthy — this one could have gotten real ugly.
"We had one guy show up," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "And it was (Vasilevskiy)."
Big-picture, the Lightning has won nine of its past 10 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division, albeit with just a one point lead over Florida and Boston, which enters Amalie Arena tonight.
But Tampa Bay knows Monday's brutal performance — getting outshot 40-18 — better be a blip.
"We got outplayed, outworked, outcompeted, out-classed, out everything," Cooper said. "Now let's see what's inside us."
The Lightning (39-23-4) had to lean on its goaltenders often during its nine-game winning streak, starter Ben Bishop and Vasilevskiy coming to the rescue.
But Monday's game was completely dumped on Vasilevskiy's shoulders. It didn't help that defensemen Andrej Sustr and Braydon Coburn were hurt. Yet the Lightning held a 1-0 lead after 36 minutes. Veteran defenseman Matt Carle, who admittedly had a couple of bad turnovers, said players were almost laughing inside that they were actually up.
"We hung Vasy out to dry," Carle said. "Without him, who knows what the score would have been? It would have been pretty bad."
Vasilevskiy's most impressive save was on a two-on-none in the first period, when Carle's turnover led to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Wayne Simmonds in all alone. But Vasilevskiy made a post-to-post sliding stop on Bellemare.
"Just tried to keep good position and just stay calm and make the move," Vasilevskiy said.
The Flyers cracked Vasilevskiy on their 30th shot, with three minutes left in the second. Star defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a rookie who had two goals, pounced on a rebound on a tally that was confirmed despite Tampa Bay's challenge for goalie interference.
"We knew we were playing really good hockey." Gostisbehere said. "And we had them in the palm of our hand."
One minute later, the Flyers had a flurry of chances, Bellemare hitting the crossbar before Vasilevskiy robbed Chris Vandevelde with a skate save on the rebound.
"He's unreal," Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek said. "He's the best young goalie in the game, and we're happy to have him. So fortunate to have him Monday."
Cooper also praised Koekkoek, who had his first NHL point (an assist). But other than that, Cooper said his team "laid an egg."
Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning didn't compete, and "that's what happens." But while Stamkos notes it's "easy to overanalyze and get in the gutter," the key is how the team responds tonight.
"I expect a bounceback from this group," Stamkos said. "We've been in this situation before, when we haven't played our best. Let's not all get panicky here and worried. That was a (poor) game. We realize that. But we've got to get back to work (tonight)."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Palat 11 (Koekkoek, Johnson), 4:07. Penalties—Garrison, TB (holding), 1:46; Namestnikov, TB (high-sticking), 5:07; Giroux, Phi (hooking), 7:51; Killorn, TB (hooking), 8:18; Nesterov, TB (high-sticking), 18:57.
Second Period—2, Philadelphia, Gostisbehere 13 (Raffl, Couturier), 16:51. Penalties—Gudas, Phi (holding), 19:01.
Third Period—3, Philadelphia, Gostisbehere 14 (Giroux, Streit), 7:21 (pp). 4, Philadelphia, Schenn 22 (Giroux, Simmonds), 13:57. 5, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 11 (Johnson, Kucherov), 14:53. 6, Philadelphia, Simmonds 24 (Schenn), 19:33 (en). Penalties—Nesterov, TB (delay of game), 6:11. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 3-6-9—18. Philadelphia 9-22-9—40. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 2; Philadelphia 1 of 5. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 11-6-0 (39 shots-36 saves). Philadelphia, Mason 15-15-7 (18-16). A—17,906 (19,537). T—2:30. Referees—Francis Charron, Frederick L'Ecuyer. Linesmen—Derek Amell, Matt MacPherson.