Vincent Lecavalier got everything but the desired result in his return to Tampa Bay.
Victor Hedman had two goals and an assist to help the Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 on Wednesday night, spoiling Lecavalier’s homecoming.
Lecavalier, who played 14 years for the Lightning after being selected first overall in the 1998 draft, faced his old team for the first time and scored a power-play goal late in the third period.
”It was very weird stepping out on the ice,” he said. ”Obviously, we didn’t win, and I’m disappointed in that, but I had a great experience just skating on the ice. The fans were supportive of me. That definitely means a lot.”
The former Tampa Bay captain received a standing ovation after a video tribute was played on the scoreboard midway through the first.
”You see Vinny, you get good feelings,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ”He’s not a guy you see and are like, `Oh gosh, I hope he doesn’t see me so I have to say hello.’ Vinny is a guy you want to walk up and say, `How are you? How are things?’ To see him for the first time, that was kind of the tough part. It was great to see him.”
Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson also scored for the Lightning, who have won seven in a row at home. Tampa Bay, behind goalie Ben Bishop, beat the New York Rangers 5-0 Monday night.
Anders Lindback was in net for the Lightning in this one and he stopped Wayne Simmonds’ backhander on a first-period penalty shot. Entering the day, there were only two goals scored on 21 NHL penalty shots dating to Oct. 10.
Mark Streit also scored for the Flyers, who played without right wing Matt Read (lower-body injury). Philadelphia was coming off a 3-1 loss Monday at Florida that ended a 6-0-1 stretch.
”It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get any points out of this little trip here, but you can’t really dwell on it,” Simmonds said. ”You’ve got to look forward.”
After Lecavalier and Streit got the Flyers to 3-2 with less than 2 minutes to play, Johnson secured the Lightning win by scoring an empty-net goal.
Hedman put Tampa Bay up 1-0 when he beat Ray Emery from a tough angle just above the goal line near the left wing boards 9:15 into the second. Palat made it 2-0 on a short-handed rebound after Emery turned aside Hedman’s shot at 12:16.
Tampa Bay went ahead 3-0 on Hedman’s power-play goal in the third.
”It’s always fun to contribute at both ends of the ice,” the defenseman said. ”You’ve got to keep rolling . . . keep winning hockey games, that’s most important.”
Tampa Bay has been impacted by a number of injuries recently, including one to star center Steven Stamkos, who expects to play again this season after breaking his right leg on Now. 11.
Cooper said left wing Ryan Malone, who took a shot off his skate last week, is being evaluated to see if he has a chipped bone. Defenseman Radko Gudas, out with an upper-body injury, could return within the next week.
”You can’t cry foul,” Cooper said. ”This happens to every team in the league.”
Bishop, scheduled to get the night off, left the morning skate early after taking a shot off his hand. Cooper said Bishop is OK.
Other Lightning players sidelined include forwards Pierre-Cedric Labrie (arm) and Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone).
Tampa Bay defenseman Keith Aulie returned after missing seven games with an upper-body injury.
NOTES: Lightning C Dana Tyrell, recalled from Syracuse of the AHL before the game, didn’t play. . . . LW Michael Raffl replaced Read in Philadelphia’s lineup. . . . Palat ended a 14-game goal drought. . . . Simmonds was given one of three penalties called — a 10-minute misconduct — with 18 seconds left in the third. . . . Johnson was plus-3.