Talk about reversal of fortune _ this was a case of reversal of everything.
The Lightning got everything it wanted Thursday that it did not have Tuesday: Physical play, great goaltending and timely offense.
Even _ believe it _ a victory.
Brian Bellows scored with 10:55 left in the first overtime of the Lightning's second NHL playoff game, giving Tampa Bay a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia at the CoreStates Spectrum and sending the series to the ThunderDome for Sunday's Game 3 tied 1-1.
Bellows took a pass from linemate Chris Gratton, who had intercepted the puck from Philadelphia defenseman Chris Haller, and raced down the middle, fighting off a check before beating Flyers goalie Ron Hextall with the biggest goal in Lightning history.
The Lightning had to rally from both a 7-3 loss in Tuesday's Game 1 of the best-of-seven, first round Stanley Cup playoff series and a 1-0 deficit in Thursday's Game 2 to force the overtime, getting a second-period goal from Alexander Selivanov to tie it 1-1, then battling the injury-decimated Flyers close throughout a scoreless third period. Legion of Doom wing John LeClair was among a trio of Flyers knocked out of the game on Thursday, and the status of all three for the rest of the series remains uncertain.
Lightning goalie Daren Puppa survived an early Flyers flurry in the extra period, then got a piece of a Mikael Renberg blast to stave off another. Later, with David Shaw in the penalty box for cross checking Trent Klatt in front of the net, he survived a wicked blast from Eric Lindros and a rebound opportunity by Lindros minutes later.
Tampa Bay, playing without injured scoring-leader Brian Bradley, had its early chances, too, including an odd angle shot by Bellows and a quick wrist shot from Jason Wiemer.
When Tampa Bay got its goal from playoff-veteran Bellows, a member of both Minnesota's last Stanley Cup Final team and Montreal's Cup winner three seasons ago, scratched Lightning players in the press box went nuts.
"I said B.B. I said B.B," Bradley yelled. "I said Brian Bellows. I picked him."
"Yes," teammate John Tucker said. "Yes. The Bolts aren't done yet."
Selivanov tied the game with 15:58 remaining in the second period, threading the rebound of a John Cullen shot that came off the pads of Ron Hextall between the goalie's blocker side and the goalpost behind him.
It was the first goal of the series for Selivanov, who led the Lightning in goals scored with 31 during the regular season and is being counted on to continue that offensive production in his first NHL playoff experience.
If Philadelphia came out flying in Game 2 like in did in Game 1, the Lightning would be grounded. But Tampa Bay captain Paul Ysebaert said beforehand, "If you can weather the storm in the first five minutes, then you're going to be able to hang in there."
The visitors indeed experienced some early turbulence, as the Flyers went on a power play after Chris Gratton went to the penalty box for cross checking just 76 seconds into the game.
Philadelphia converted in just 32 seconds, the beneficiary of a sudden drop by one of the Lightning. John LeClair was sending the puck down low to Eric Lindros when Tampa Bay penalty-killer Rob Zamuner went down, in the process swatting the puck in an attempt to clear the zone.
Instead, Dale Hawerchuk stepped up from the right point and one-timed a blast high past the outstretched glove of Lightning goalie Daren Puppa for the game's first goal and his second of the series.
But unlike Tuesday night, when the Lightning gave up one goal in the first 55 seconds and two before the first period was seven minutes old, Tampa Bay did what Ysebaert said it would have to and weathered this storm.
And then, over the next period and a half, the Flyers began to fall.
Joel Otto was the first to go, followed by John Druce. Both sustained sprained knees. When Lightning defenseman Igor Ulanov lowered his body and set up Lindros for a hip check on the boards, it would not be long before the Flyers star was headed for a visit to the trainer's room himself.
"There's no question we have to play more physical," Ulanov, who was a healthy scratch in Game 1, said the morning before Game 2. "That's the key for tonight."
That it was, getting the Lightning to overtime.
Lindros iced a bruised thigh but returned to the ice three minutes into the middle period.
Puppa had just the kind of game Thursday that he did not on Tuesday. Pulled from that one after giving up four goals in an eventual 7-3 loss, Puppa played solidly after settling down from Hawerchuk's goal.
He made a pad save when Lindros took a pass from LeClair on a 2-on-0, then covered up when Lightning defenseman Michel Petit knocked the puck into him with is skate.
Later Puppa weathered a 5-on-3 Flyer power play early during the second period, forced to face that odd-man situation when Ulanov, Petit and Cory Cross decided to hold a convention for Lightning defenseman in the penalty box for a variety of roughing and unsportmanlike-conduct infractions.
Fortunately for Tampa Bay, Lindros (after returning) and LeClair (before departing) were in the box at the same time and Philadelphia could not get anything going.
The Lightning also had 58 seconds of five-on three in the second period, but Hextall turned away shots by Petit, Roman Hamrlik and Selivanov.
Key Stats Lightning Flyers
Goals 2 1
Shots 26 26
Penalty minutes 22 16
Power play 0-5 1-8