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Tom Sestito scores 2 goals to lead Flyers over Lightning 2-1

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

PHILADELPHIA - Known more for his fists than his scoring touch, Tom Sestito had a Gretzky-esque performance.

Sestito scored his first two goals in three years to lead the Philadelphia Flyers over the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old enforcer earned a new nickname in the process.

"We talk about him becoming a sniper now," Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said. "We're going to have to give him a Russian name. He's now Sestitov."

Even Sestito joked about his rare offensive display.

"I needed one more shift for the hat trick," he said.

Sestito's goals—his first with the Flyers—were nearly identical on backhand shots.

"I only have one move," he said.

It worked.

Bryzgalov made 21 saves, shutting down the NHL's highest-scoring team to help the Flyers win their second straight game and improve to 4-6.

The Lightning, who entered averaging 4.9 goals per game, had dominated the series, winning seven of the previous nine meetings.

Benoit Pouliot scored for Tampa Bay. Steven Stamkos was held without a point for the first time this season as the Lightning (6-3) lost their second consecutive game.

"We had a lot of chances, lot of offensive zone time and we didn't make the most of it," Martin St. Louis said. "We're not going to score five goals a game, and we have to start being a little more urgent down there. We fought back, but Bryzgalov made some key saves at some key times. We just didn't get it done."

Less than 2 minutes after Pouliot tied it in the third period, Sestito scored the go-ahead goal. He skated down the centre on a break, took a pass from Ruslan Fedotenko and slipped a backhander under Andres Lindback's pads for a 2-1 lead with 8:49 left.

"I think he was (surprised), by the look on his face," teammate Danny Briere said. "It's good to see different guys stepping up."

Sestito gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 4:25 into the second period. He took a crossing pass from Jake Voracek, skated in from the right circle and niftily went to his backhand to beat Lindback.

Before that, Sestito's last NHL goal was on Dec. 23, 2010, for Columbus against Vancouver.

"It's great that Tom chipped in," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's a big body. He does a lot for the club. That has to make him feel good."

Bryzgalov was sent crashing to the ice after stopping Cory Conacher's shot in the third period. He got up slowly and earned a loud ovation from the crowd.

But shortly afterward, Pouliot lifted a shot over Bryzgalov's right shoulder to tie it.

Bryzgalov, who had an up-and-down first season in Philadelphia after signing a $51 million contract, has been excellent this year. He lowered his 2.40 goals-against average and improved his .920 save percentage.

Bryzgalov made an outstanding save on Stamkos, sliding post-to-post to keep the game scoreless late in the first.

"When we needed it, Bryz was outstanding," Laviolette said.

Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo decked B.J. Crombeen with a flurry of fists after they dropped their gloves a few minutes into the game. Crombeen seemed woozy as he slowly got up and left the ice. He didn't return as a precaution.

Rinaldo denied hitting Crombeen after he fell to the ice.

"I hit him before he went down," Rinaldo said. "That's hockey. He asked me to (fight). We bumped shoulders. He said, 'We going?' I said, 'Yeah.'"

It was another typical physical game between these teams. Even Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier got into it with Max Talbot right after Sestito's second goal. Lecavalier left with a bloody nose, but landed a couple of solid rights.

"You have to expect tight games here, 2-1, 3-2, those types," he said. "It's always tough games against them, high tempo. They play hard. They bring a type of intensity and that was no different tonight."

NOTES: Rob Zombie, the Hollywood director and rocker, was at the game working on ideas for his movie on the Broad Street Bullies. ... Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said there's been no change in Wayne Simmonds' condition and he remains day to day. Simmonds sustained head and neck injuries on a hit from Washington's John Erskine last Friday. ... The Lightning began a stretch of four road games in six days. ... Injured Flyers forward Scott Hartnell was on crutches in the press box. Hartnell is out with a broken left foot.


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