Lightning Storm Past Flyers

Zac Bierk's starting assignment was surprising. His performance was nearly flawless.

Bierk stopped 30 shots, in his first game of the season, and Vincent Lecavalier snapped a six-game point drought with a third period goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 Monday night.

"I was nervous," Bierk said. "I tried to keep my nerves under control the best I could. It's just a game no matter where you play it. For me personally, I play a lot better when I calm and relaxed. It's easy to say, and not necessarily easy to do."

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  • Bierk was inserted into the lineup after scheduled starter Kevin Hodson was sidelined with a groin injury.

    "Hodson was sore and we said, we'll go with the kid," Tampa Bay coach Steve Ludzik said. "He made some key saves for us."

    Tampa Bay has won five straight at home for the first time since Feb. 20-March 1, 1997. The franchise record is six, set during the 1995-96 season.

    "We're playing a little more within ourselves at home," Tampa Bay center Darcy Tucker said. "Our system is working to a tee. On the road, I think we get a little away from what we want to do."

    Simon Gagne scored a third-period, power-play goal for the Flyers (7-2-2), who lost for just the second time in 11 games.

    Bierk was outstanding during the second period when the Lightning were outshot 15-0. The Tampa Bay goalie turned aside point-blank backhanders by Eric Lindros and Joh LeClair.

    It was the first time Tampa Bay has gone shotless during a period and the Flyers have held an opponent without a shot.

    "The second period was all ours," Flyers coach Roger Neilson said. "Zac Bierk played an outstanding game and won the game for them."

    Bierk, who was recalled from Detroit of the IHL on Friday, made his first appearance since Dec. 11, 1998. His only other NHL win came on March 30, 1998, a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers.

    Stan Drulia put the Lightning up 1-0 in the first period and Lecavalier made it 2-0 at 65 seconds of the third period.

    Drulia redirected Chris Gratton's shot from the low slot. On the power play, Lecavalier picked up a loose puck after a shot by Pavel Kubina was stopped and beat Flyers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck from in-close.

    After Gagne got the Flyers within a goal, Petr Svoboda made it 3-1 during a 5-on-3 power play with 3 1-2 minutes left. Chris Gratton added an empty-net goal in the game's final minute.

    The Flyers, who entered with the NHL's top-ranked unit, went 1-for-5 on the power-play. Tampa Bay allowed just one goal in 23 shorthanded situations during its five-game home-winning streak.

    The game was delayed 18 minutes in the third period when a pane of glass was shattered near center-ice following a hard check by Tampa Bay's Dan Kesa on the Flyers' Ulf Samuelsson.

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