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Three-goal second period lifts Lightning past Flyers 4-1

TAMPA, Fla. - With Vincent Lecavalier trade speculation starting to take a toll, the Tampa Bay all-star centre and his teammates went out and played one of their best games this season on Thursday night.

Martin St. Louis, Andrej Meszaros and Ryan Craig scored during a 2:03 span of the second period to lead the Lightning to their fourth victory in six games, 4-1 over the Philadelphia Flyers. In recent days, Lecavalier has been part of trade rumours involving the Montreal Canadiens.

"These last four or five days, I want to say I wasn't distracted but I was," Lecavalier said. "I think anybody would."

Lightning GM Brian Lawton reiterated that the team is not seeking to trade Lecavalier.

"There's no plan to trade him," Lawton said. "He's not being traded today. He's not being traded tomorrow or any time soon."

Lecavalier gave Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead on a penalty shot at 12:34 of the third.

"Vinny is a professional," St. Louis said. "I thought he was great out there. It's just the nature of the business. We've just got to be strong mentally."

Mark Recchi had two assists for the Lightning. The Tampa Bay right wing tied Dale Hawerchuk for 17th place on the NHL's career points list with 1,409.

Joffrey Lupul scored for Philadelphia. The Flyers have lost four of six.

"We're not paying a big enough price to win a hockey game right now," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "We didn't match their level of desperation and the result was indicative of that."

St. Louis tied the game at one from the right circle with 5:12 left in the second. Meszaros made it 2-1 from the low right circle on the power play 25 seconds later. Craig gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead at 16:51.

"When you win usually people stay together," Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "I think that's a good rallying cry. It was good effort. Obviously Vinny played a great game, and all the way down the list."

Both of Meszaros' goals this season have come in the last five games.

Lupul put the Flyers ahead 1-0 on a backhander during a power play at 5:21 of the second.

"We're just getting outworked," Flyers centre Mike Richards said. "It's kind of embarrassing how much they outworked us."

Mike Smith made 31 saves as the Lightning improved to 4-14-6 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game.

"You don't like to hear rumours that go on, and obviously it's going to happen," Smith said. "The good teams don't worry about what's going on in the media, and try just to play hockey."

Notes: Flyers D Kimmo Timonen required stitches inside and outside of his mouth after getting cut on the upper lip in the first period. ... Tampa Bay outshot the Flyers 44-32. ... Acting U.S. Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Steven Galson, dropped the ceremonial first puck. ... Flyers RW Claude Giroux returned after missing five games because of a concussion. ... Tampa Bay recalled RW Steve Downie from Norfolk of the AHL. D Vladmir Mihalik was reassigned to Norfolk. ... Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman was at the game.


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