PHILADELPHIA – Steven Stamkos had his second hat trick of the season, and the Tampa Bay Lightning needed each of his goals—and many more.
Stamkos also added two assists, and the Lightning overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Philadelphia 8-7 on Thursday night. The Flyers tied a franchise record for most goals scored in a loss.
“I’ve never been part of anything like this, even going back to minor hockey,” said Stamkos, the 20-year-old star who leads the NHL with 19 goals and 35 points. “It was like we were back in the 80s, everyone was rocking the moustaches on the ice and the goals were coming left right and centre. It was a flashback.”
Nate Thompson scored the tiebreaking goal at 5:19 of the third period, flicking a rebound off Dana Tyrell’s shot past backup goalie Brian Boucher to complete the 15-goal night. The Lightning trailed on four occasions, but rallied to win for just the third time in November.
Philadelphia, whose 10-game points streak ended Tuesday night in Montreal, lost its second straight and also snapped a seven-game home winning streak.
Adam Hall, Ryan Malone, Brett Clark and Steve Downie also scored for Tampa Bay, and Martin St. Louis had five assists. Nikolay Zherdev scored twice for Philadelphia, and Andreas Nodl, Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere and Andrej Meszaros also scored.
Stamkos tied Sidney Crosby for the NHL goals lead last season with 51.
“He’s automatic,” Thompson said. “Whenever he gets the puck anywhere in the scoring zone, nine times out of 10, it’s going in.”
The teams scored 15 times on 64 shots, or once every 4.2 shots.
“It was an exciting game to be a part of,” Stamkos said. “I guess if you were a goalie, it was tough, they probably deserved a better fate. Everything just seemed to find the net. It’s about time we get on a roll.”
The Flyers scored the first two goals 42 seconds apart in the nine-goal first period, beginning at 4:21. Nodl flipped a rebound off Zherdev’s shot past Dan Ellis, then Zherdev scored his own goal by redirecting Matt Carle’s cross-ice pass into an open net.
Tampa had similar rapid-fire success against Sergei Bobrovsky, who was making his 12th straight start. The Lightning beat the rookie twice in a 16-second span. Stamkos scored a power-play wrist shot that sailed past Bobrovsky’s stick side, and Hall knocked in a rebound off Victor Hedman’s shot.
Continuing the relentless theme of the night, the Flyers quickly retook the lead less than a minute later when Carter’s shot slipped under Ellis’ pads. Malone immediately answered with a power-play one-timer.
Ellis was pulled after allowing Hartnell’s deflection to elude him. Backup goalie Mike Smith followed suit, surrendering an open-net goal to Briere with less than two minutes to go in the first period.
Bobrovsky didn’t last much longer, surrendering a goal to Clark to make the score 5-4. The defenceman’s shot actually went through the net.
“Clark came in and put some farmer’s strength behind that one,” Thompson said.
Bobrovsky was replaced in the second period by Brian Boucher.
Scoring didn’t cease when the players returned, with Stamkos tying the score with his second goal. The Flyers regained a two-goal lead with Zherdev’s second goal and Meszaros’ score.
Downie’s pulled the Lightning within a goal, and Stamkos’ power-play one-timer with 1:01 left in the second period tied it, the third time they erased a two-goal deficit.
“When you’re up like that, we came out with the right intentions to start the game,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “You know when you’re up like that you expect to continue to close the deal and it didn’t happen tonight, I guess again and again. It was a crazy game.”
The Lighting will take the two points.
“It was one of those games,” Stamkos said. “They’re probably not giving up eight goals again for the rest of the season. Pucks were just going in. It’s a game to forget defensively, but we can look at what we did well on the power play and on 5-of-5. Things are just going well right now. That’s the character we have on this team.”
NOTES: Twenty-nine players had at least one point. … The NHL record for goals in a period is 12, set in the second period by the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs on March 19, 1981. The Sabres had nine of the 12 goals. … Stamkos has three career hat tricks. … The Lightning scored and allowed their most goals in a game this season.