PHILADELPHIA — You knew a game like Thursday's was bound to happen for the Lightning.
You knew at some point coach Guy Boucher's quick-skating, puck-forward system would run into a hard-checking, determined brick wall, and it was then we were going to see what this team is made of.
So a 3-2 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champion Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center was something to celebrate, as is being 3-0-0 for the first time since 2007-08.
"It shows relentlessness and resiliency," center Dominic Moore said.
"It shows we have character," Boucher said.
Actually, what the Lightning had — apart from goals by Moore, Steven Stamkos, and Pavel Kubina, and two assists each from Marty St. Louis and Steve Downie — was a solid effort from goaltender Dan Ellis.
In his first start of the season, Ellis made 13 of his 24 saves in the first period while his teammates found their legs. He also stopped Mike Richards' short-handed breakaway to preserve a 1-1 second-period tie.
"I gave him first star," Boucher said. "He kept us in there when (the Flyers) were crashing (the net). The rest of the game, the other players gave it back to him."
Not an easy assignment considering the circumstances.
After winning at Montreal on Wednesday night, the team got to its Philadelphia hotel after 3 a.m. Thursday. The Flyers, meanwhile, had a day off.
Philadelphia also is a forechecking machine, and well rested, it had jump and outshot the Lightning 14-5 in the first period.
There also was the distraction of a first-period scoreboard video saluting Lightning left wing and former Flyers star Simon Gagne, who called it one of the great moments of his career.
But by game's end, the Flyers' shot advantage was 26-24, and they were outshot 11-4 in the third period.
Kubina's goal from the point 1:27 into the third provided a 3-1 lead, and the team's neutral-zone defense squelched the Flyers by getting bodies on bodies and sticks on pucks.
"They're a good hockey team," Ellis said. "They have depth all the way through the group, and it took us time to adjust. As the game went on, though, we got stronger and stronger."
The Lightning would do well to remember the 2007-08 team that started 3-0-0 finished last in the league, and Moore said it is good "not to get ahead of yourself."
Still, he said, "It's these kinds of games that add character and confidence, especially for a team trying to build an identity."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 4 (Downie, St. Louis), 15:11. 2, Philadelphia, Zherdev 1 (van Riemsdyk, Giroux), 17:03. Penalties—Downie, TB (tripping), 1:45; Bergenheim, TB (hooking), 2:32.
Second Period—3, Tampa Bay, D.Moore 2 (Hall, Clark), 14:49. Penalties—Coburn, Phi (hooking), 1:07; Pronger, Phi (holding), 2:41; Downie, TB, major (fighting), 3:59; O'Donnell, Phi, major (fighting), 3:59; Hedman, TB (holding), 4:49; Coburn, Phi (interference), 7:10; Hedman, TB (cross-checking), 10:40; Richards, Phi (hooking), 16:31.
Third Period—4, Tampa Bay, Kubina 1 (Downie, St. Louis), 1:27. 5, Philadelphia, Briere 3 (Leino, Carle), 9:59. Penalties—van Riemsdyk, Phi (hooking), 10:33; Carle, Phi (delay of game), 14:41. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 5-8-11—24. Philadelphia 14-8-4—26. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 6; Philadelphia 0 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Ellis 1-0-0 (26 shots-24 saves). Philadelphia, Boucher 0-1-1 (24-21). A—19,592 (19,537). T—2:18. Referees—David Banfield, Kevin Pollock. Linesmen—Pierre Racicot, Mark Shewchyk.