TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning won a game that had an old-time basketball feel.
But the NHL didn’t have a shot clock to prevent the Philadelphia Flyers’ unique strategy.
Brett Connolly scored 2:30 into overtime to give the Lightning a 2-1 victory over the Flyers on Wednesday night. Connolly won it after Dominic Moore skated into the Flyers’ zone and got the puck past a Philadelphia defender into the low slot, from where the rookie beat goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
“It was nice to see it come to me,” Connolly said.
Connolly has three goals in four games after starting the season with an 11-game goal drought.
“He crashes the net,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “We’re very impressed with him.”
The Flyers used a four corners, hoops-style offence at various times in an effort to get Tampa Bay out of its zone coverage.
Twice in the opening five minutes of the game Philadelphia held the puck in its end, attempting to force the Lightning to abandon their 1-3-1 defence. After about 30 seconds of stagnant play both times, the officials stopped the game to have a faceoff.
“It’s just part of what they do, and we were trying to figure out a way around it,” Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. “Everybody coaches differently.”
The Flyers employed the tactic, which Washington used against Tampa Bay last season, seven times during the scoreless first period.
“That’s not hockey in my book, but whatever,” Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger said of Tampa Bay’s defensive plan. “The league’s letting them do it. Would you pay money to watch that? I wouldn’t either. That was a (nationally televised) game, too. Way to showcase the product.”
A steal by the Lightning during Philadelphia’s delay strategy midway through the second period turned a chorus of boos into a loud cheer.
“We were just waiting for them to come in,” Pronger said. “You’re just being patient with the puck, force them out of their forecheck, or whatever that is. They’re not forechecking technically … (it’s a) Goal-line stand.”
Boucher tried to stay clear of the whole situation.
“I’m only focused on our team,” he said.
Marc-Andre Bergeron netted the tying goal in the third period for the Lightning, who have won seven of nine.
Scott Hartnell had the lone goal for the Flyers. Philadelphia routed Columbus 9-2 on Saturday but was shut down by Tampa Bay, which outshot the Flyers 24-15.
Pronger returned after missing six games because of a right eye injury. He had been out since being struck just outside the eye by a stick blade during a game against Toronto on Oct. 24.
Hartnell put the Flyers ahead 1-0 with a power-play goal against goalie Dwayne Roloson at 9:34 of the second.
Bergeron tied it with a shot from the high slot at 7:41 of the third. Steven Stamkos assisted on the goal, giving him six points during a three-game point streak.
Tampa Bay failed to capitalize on two late second-period power plays, set up by slashing and high-sticking penalties against Pronger.
Philadelphia’s Jaromir Jagr had his seven-game point streak snapped, a run that included six goals and 11 points.
“We kind of practised for that the last two days,” Jagr said. “Of course, I like to be playing a different style, but I’m part of the team. That’s the way we play them.
“They didn’t have that many shots either,” Jagr added. “It was kind of like a chess match. Most of the play was in the neutral zone, and there were not many scoring chances. It was one of those games.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay LW Ryan Malone and D Victor Hedman didn’t play because of undisclosed upper body injuries. … Philadelphia D Erik Gustafsson missed the game with an undisclosed injury. … The Flyers announced that D Braydon Coburn has agreed to terms on a multiyear contract extension. … Philadelphia RW Matt Reed returned after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. … Jagr played in his 1,288th NHL game, one fewer than Mathieu Schneider for 54th place on the NHL career list.