1. Archive

This time, it's a win streak

Lightning holds off Flyers 4-3 for first back-to-back wins in more than a month.

Blood glistened underneath Kyle Freadrich's swollen right eye. Pavel Kubina's sliced left finger was wrapped in a bandage. Cory Sarich's left arm was in a sling.

Lightning coach Steve Ludzik's clothes were soaked to his exhausted bones.

"I don't have any energy left," he said. "I'm exhausted. It takes every-thing out of you. I know it's been a tough game when after the game you just want to collapse."

In a game that featured everything _ scoring, defense, fights _ the smallest man on the ice provided the biggest boost for his team in a 4-3 win against Philadelphia in front of 20,142 on Thursday at the Ice Palace.

"He's an unbelievable player," Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier said of teammate Martin St. Louis. "He's so fast. He got everyone going. He got everyone pumped up to play the rest of the game."

St. Louis, who moved from the first to second line last week, scored two first-period goals and set the tone for what turned out to be one of Tampa Bay's most complete performances of the season.

"Who wants to go down in the world? Everybody wants to move up, right?" St. Louis said. "That's what I want to do. I'll just keep working hard and I'll just show them that I can play."

Forward Fredrik Modin added two goals and goaltender Kevin Weekes stopped 32 shots in Tampa Bay's second win in a row.

It was the first back-to-back wins for the Lightning since Nov. 22 against Atlanta and Nov. 24 against Florida.

"He's playing like the best goalie in the league right now," Ludzik said of Weekes. "Let's be honest."

The Lightning defense killed 6 of 6 penalties, including three in the third period, and matched Philadelphia's physical play hit-for-hit. The loss was Philadelphia's first in eight games and kept it out of first place in the Atlantic Division.

"We were a little short tonight," Flyers coach Bill Barber said. "I almost got wrapped up in being a fan it was that good of a game."

St. Louis opened the scoring 7:36 into the first period when he lifted a backhand shot over the left shoulder of goalie Brian Boucher.

The Flyers wasted no time tying the score 1-1.

Scoreless in his 12 previous games, right wing Mark Recchi received a pass in the slot from defenseman Dan McGillis, flipped it into the air with his stick and batted it into the net 11:49 into the first period.

Forty-two seconds later, off a pass from forward Wayne Primeau, St. Louis beat Boucher to the right side with 7:29 remaining.

Tampa Bay went ahead 3-1 on Modin's first goal of the game and 18th of the season.

Modin, who also scored against Carolina on Tuesday, streaked down the middle of the ice when Lecavalier passed to him. Modin's shot went between Boucher's legs with 3:06 remaining.

Weekes stopped 11 of 12 shots in the first period, but gave up Philadelphia's second goal of the game 4:34 into the second period.

After a breakaway by Lecavalier and right wing Mike Johnson was stopped by solid defense, Philadelphia left wing Todd Fedoruk sent a shot between Weekes' legs to make it 3-2.

The Lightning then killed two penalties, allowing the Flyers five shots, before Modin scored his second goal with 2:22 left in the second period.

The Flyers pulled within one goal when left wing Ruslan Fedotenko redirected a pass from the blue line by Recchi and past Weekes. Fedotenko's back was facing Weekes.

Weekes and the Lightning defense were solid after that, stopping three Philadelphia power plays in the last 13 minutes.

Kubina is listed as day-to-day with a laceration on his left index finger while Freadrich, injured in a fight, has an eye contusion. Both are questionable.

With the loss, Barber's run at the NHL mark for best starting record for a coach ended.

Barber was 5-0-3 since being hired to replace Craig Ramsay on Dec. 10. The record, 9-0-1, was set by Dan Gill of Ottawa in 1927.