An unexpected shootout hero finally gave the Philadelphia Flyers a win over one of their biggest Eastern Conference threats.
Defenceman Kimmo Timonen scored in the seventh round of the shootout as the Flyers defeated Tampa Bay 4-3 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the East’s top two teams.
“Sometimes you have to put D-men out there to do something else,” Timonen said. “I’ve got one move and that’s my move.
“I wanted to come at full speed and wait for him to make the first move.”
The Lightning still won three of four games in the season series with Philadelphia. Tampa Bay, which trails the Flyers by five points, is 5-3 during a 12-game homestand.
“The games, themselves, they were back and forth,” Tampa Bay defenceman Randy Jones said. “A lot of chances on both ends.”
Three of the games were decided by one goal.
“We had some games that could have gone either way,” Flyers goalie Brian Boucher said. “For confidence purposes, it’s nice to get a win against them.
“Had we lost to them, would it have mattered? I don’t know, but it’s nice to get a win.”
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Vancouver 4 Minnesota 1; Toronto 4 Boston 3; Buffalo 3 Montreal 2 (SO); New York Islanders 4 Ottawa 3 (SO); Edmonton 4 Dallas 1; and San Jose 2 Nashville 1 (SO).
At Tampa, Fla., James van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell and Darroll Powe, on a short-handed penalty shot, scored in regulation for Philadelphia. The conference-leading Flyers are 18-6-3 on the road.
Dominic Moore, Vincent Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell scored for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay pulled even 3-3 on goals by Lecavalier, with the man advantage, and Purcell just 53 seconds apart against Boucher midway through the second. Lecavalier has five goals in his last four games after scoring just one over a 16-game stretch.
“I think Vinny’s found a real good place to be at,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said.
After Hartnell had a power-play goal at 7:33 of the second, Powe gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead 1:15 later on a short-handed penalty shot that went over Dwayne Roloson’s right shoulder.
The Flyers have nine short-handed goals this season, while Tampa Bay has given up 10.
Van Riemsdyk put the Flyers up 1-0 from the left circle at 12:42 of the first. Philadelphia is 27-3-2 this season when scoring the game’s first goal.
“They had our number three times this year and we definitely wanted to make sure we pushed back a little bit just to prove they didn’t have our number completely,” van Riemsdyk said. “We did a good job of that.”
Moore tied it 1-1 just 59 seconds into the second.
“It had a playoff kind of feel out there,” Lightning defenceman Mike Vernace said. “The guys battled back. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get that extra point.”
Lightning centre Steven Stamkos, the NHL leader with 40 goals this season, has gone three consecutive games without scoring.
At St. Paul, Minn., Manny Malhotra had a goal and an assist while Cory Schneider stopped 27 shots as Vancouver defeated Minnesota.
At Boston, Mikhail Grabovski scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:01 remaining, his second goal of the game, and Toronto rallied for a win over Boston. Ex-Bruin Phil Kessel also scored twice.
At Montreal, Jochen Hecht scored on Buffalo’s 10th shootout attempt to give Buffalo a win over the Canadiens.
At Ottawa, Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout and Nathan Lawson earned his first NHL win to lift New York over the Senators.
At Edmonton, Shawn Horcoff had a goal and two assists as the Oilers snapped a three-game skid with a victory over struggling Dallas.
At Nashville, Tenn., Patrick Marleau beat goalie Pekka Rinne on a breakaway 3:53 into overtime to give San Jose a victory over the Predators.