PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde and Ryan Callahan each scored in the second period to lead Tampa Bay over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 on Thursday night, helping the Lightning head into the All-Star break with the best record in the NHL.
Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice late in the third to turn this one into a rout. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots.
The Flyers pulled the goalie with 7:20 left and got a 6-on-4 goal from Travis Konency. But otherwise the Flyers had nothing for Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning are off to their best start in franchise history and top the NHL with 34 wins and 71 points as the league gets set to take a lengthy break. Tampa Bay’s stars have little time to rest: Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vasilevskiy were named to the All-Star team. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was scratched from the game because of injury and was replaced by Point.
Tampa Bay was upset at home by the Flyers in December at a time when Philadelphia was not far removed from a 10-game losing streak. The Flyers have turned the season around since, winning four straight and eight of nine heading into Thursday’s game. That all ended with a thud against the class of the NHL.
The Lightning — who led the league in goals per game at 3.50 entering Thursday — used three goals in the second to send the Flyers into the break on a loss and leave them in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
Point snapped a scoreless game 25 second into the second on a backhand move to beat Michal Neuvirth for his 20th goal. Gourde pounded in a rebound for his 17th, and Callahan added a short-handed score to make it 3-0.
“We used our speed better, we came out together,” Gourde said. “In the second period, we really took our speed and took advantage of that and put the puck deep. We went to work. That was the biggest difference.”
Neuvirth got the start with No. 1 goalie Brian Elliott sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
NOTES: Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson dropped the ceremonial puck. Pederson got a standing ovation for leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl and wore a No. 18 Flyers jersey. … The Flyers recalled G Alex Lyon from their AHL team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. … Tampa Bay wrapped a four-game road trip.
Tampa Bay returns Tuesday at Winnipeg.
The Flyers play Wednesday at Washington.
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)