PHILADELPHIA – Playing without Simon Gagne and Danny Briere, the Flyers didn’t back down. Instead, they got aggressive.
Mike Richards and Jeff Carter scored two goals apiece and rookie David Laliberte and Scott Hartnell also tallied, leading Philadelphia to a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.
The Flyers’ excitement over their victory was offset by the news that Gagne will miss six to eight weeks. He’s scheduled to have hernia and hip surgery on Tuesday. Briere has also missed the past two games with an injured groin.
“There’s always concern when they go out,” Flyers head coach John Stevens said. “But this is short term. Gagne and Briere are always welcome in your lineup because they’re going to score all year long consistently, but it’s great to see Laliberte and van Riemsdyk and these guys take advantage of the extra ice time and use it as an opportunity.”
Without two of their better offensive players, the Flyers peppered Lightning goalies Mike Smith and Antero Niittymaki, scoring two goals in the first period, three in the second and one in the third. Carter and Arron Asham played despite having the flu.
Contributions will just have to come from other players.
“They’re obviously big shoes to fill,” Richards said. “We stepped it up as a team and everyone contributed.”
The Flyers (7-4-1) have scored 12 goals in the past two games, and won for the fourth time in the past six. Goalie Ray Emery stopped 26 shots.
Despite leading the team in goals this season, Richards had gone six games without scoring. His first goal came off a feed from Chris Pronger, who corralled a bouncing puck. Hartnell assisted on Richards’ second score. Carter had gone seven games without scoring.
“We were getting chances. We just weren’t scoring,” Richards said. “We have an emphasis on getting to the net and finishing plays off.”
Laliberte, recalled from the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms last week to replace Gagne, become the first Flyer to score in his first two NHL games since Eric Lindros on Oct. 6 and 9, 1992. He’s the fifth to do that in Flyers franchise history.
James van Riemsdyk contributed with three assists for the first three-point night of his career – and leads all NHL rookies in scoring.
Steven Stamkos and James Halpern scored for Tampa Bay. Stamkos scored the first goal for Tampa Bay (4-4-4), capitalizing on a Danny Syvret turnover. Halpern’s came late in the third period.
“It’s just tough to get anything positive out of it,” Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet said. “I honestly can’t think of who played good. Usually you have a couple of individuals, but they were very light on their sticks and the Flyers were very strong. We looked really weak out there tonight. It was a little alarming.”
The Lightning have lost three of four, and have started this season 0-5 on the road. The rough stretch prompted a closed-door meeting after the game.
“It stays in the room,” Halpern said. “You saw the game tonight, so you can imagine what it was about. I’m not saying that we’re letting this slide, but I think the guys in this room are more than capable of handling it.”
NOTES: The Flyers have scored the first goal in 10 of their past 12 games. … Pronger has recorded at least one point in eight straight games. … Carter has played in 225 straight regular-season games. … Four Flyers recorded three-point nights Monday: Carter, Richards, Hartnell and van Riemsdyk.