Flyers turn out Tampa Bay’s lights for 6-2 victory

Travis Sanheim

PHILADELPHIA – If it only happens once every 30 years, it’s probably not that big a deal.

About six-plus minutes into Tuesday night’s Flyers-Lightning game, the Wells Fargo Center experienced a partial power failure. But, after a 10-minute delay, officials deemed there was enough light to allow play to continue.

The Flyers were leading, 1-0, at the stoppage and later went on to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay squad.

The last time this happened when the game was already started was back in 1993 when a nor’easter blew out a pair of large windows at the old Spectrum in the first period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings. The game was tied at the time and officials decided to call the whole thing off.

In 2014, a Flyers-Carolina Hurricanes game was scratched due to inclement weather but that postponement was declared prior to the start of play.

On Tuesday night, although play was allowed to continue, the center ice scoreboard and those boards at each end of the building were incapacitated for a majority of the time. There were no clocks until the third period, no shot counters and out of town scores were sporadic. Also, no music during stoppages or the intermissions.

A number of Flyers said the brief shutdown and slightly dimmer lighting during the middle of the game really didn’t have an impact on their performance.

“It was super weird,” Morgan Frost said. “I think everyone was still down to play with the way it was. I think it was more asking the goalies if they were cool with it. It kind of took a little bit of the energy out of the game, I thought.”

Travis Sanheim couldn’t help but smile when asked about the conditions.

“It almost felt like the outdoor game (against the Devils at MetLife Stadium) with the darkness around us,” he said. “It started to get hot and the ice got terrible as it got warmer. But I’m happy with the result. But the guys adjusted and found a way to win a game.”

Defenseman Sean Walker wouldn’t let the situation become a distraction.

“I think we shook it off pretty well,” he said. “Definitely weird, it’s the first it’s ever happened for me. But I think it ended up working in our favor. The lights were a little dimmer for most of the second. A little bit of shadows but I think everyone adjusted well.”

Of course, the goaltenders actually sort of needed to give their approval before play continued after the stoppage. The Flyers’ Samuel Ersson said play on.

“Things are going to happen, you never know,” Ersson said. “You just have to find a way to deal with it. And I think we did a good job, especially in a big game for us, with big points on the line.

“After a couple minutes you get used to it. You can see the puck pretty well. It’s just weird because it’s different.”

Tied 1-1 after two periods, the Flyers went on a five-goal rampage to decide the outcome.

Frost figured on both of the first two Philadelphia goals, including Tyson Foerster’s marker just 54 seconds into the third period to break the tie. Foerster cruised in for a sharp backhander past goalie Alexei Vasilevskiy.

At 3:08, Sanheim finished off a Noah Cates feed to up the margin to two goals. Then at 6:55, Walker crashed the net and converted a short shot.

Tampa Bay pulled Vasilevskiy with about nine minutes to play but only got one goal, from Steven Stamkos, with 5:26 to play, for its trouble. That stunt didn’t really work as Noah Cates scored with 4:38 to play and Cam York added another with 2:19 left on the clock.

Bobby Brink, just called back up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, provided the first goal for the Flyers in the first period. Frost gloved down a high floating puck and quickly relayed to Brink, who skated in and beat Vasilevskiy at 2:22.

The Lightning tied the score at 4:35 of the second period with Tampa Bay’s Nicholas Paul getting a short shot past netminder Samuel Ersson.

Entering Tuesday night’s game, the Lightning had gone 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Flyers.

Beating the Lightning should boost the Flyers’ confidence in the short term.

“I thought the third period was really good,” Frost said. “The first two periods weren’t our best but we were still hanging in there. We weren’t really creating too much. But in general, I thought playing like that in the third against a team like that gives us a good feeling.”

Coach John Tortorella liked the way his team responded when the game was on the line in the third period.

“The biggest point I take out of it, we didn’t lose our concentration,” the coach said. “It would be easy to be caught up in the delays, the lights. We come out and play a good third period. A lot of delays, a lot of conversations. We just kept it together and then we had a really good third.”

>Statement from the Flyers

Here is the message delivered by Wells Fargo Center president Phil Laws at the first intermission regarding the power outage:

“During tonight’s Flyers-Lightning game, the Wells Fargo Center experienced a partial power outage to limited sections of the arena, which cause a brief pause in game action. We are working to restore power to the affected areas.”

Laws discussed the particulars of what happened.

“We had a transformer on the event level blow up, I don’t know why. Electrical crews have removed that from the system. Thankfully there was not a fire. No one was injured.”

Laws added that most of the trouble was on the east side of the building. The quality of the ice surface was not really affected.

>Short shots

The Flyers head to Washington next for a Friday night game against the Capitals, who are one of Philadelphia’s closest pursuers in the Metropolitan Division standings. . .The Flyers are 23-5-3 when they score first.

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About Wayne Fish 2426 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.