Tom Sestito had played all of 31 NHL games in his career. He had never scored a goal in 18 games as a Flyer and hadn’t hit the back of the net in more than two years.
But after Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which he scored both Flyer goals, Sestito joked that maybe he ought to ask coach Peter Laviolette about taking on some time on the team’s first line.
“Should have got the hat trick, though,” a smiling Sestito said. “I think one more shift.”
In a way, Sestito was emblematic of the Flyers’ effort against the Lightning, a notoriously dangerous team that has given the orange and black trouble in recent seasons. Instead of falling back on their heels, as they did just over a week ago in Tampa, the Flyers played a complete game, making every shift in every zone count.
Or, as Max Talbot put it: “Everybody contributed.” Even the on-again, off-again healthy scratch Sestito.
“Tonight, everybody really played a solid game,” Talbot said. “We played great defense, and by ‘playing great defense’ I don’t mean only in our defensive zone, I mean in all three zones. There was good gaps, good checks, good backchecks from our forwards.”
There were early chances by both sides and equally sharp responses by the two netminders. Few sharper, arguably, than Ilya Bryzgalov’s first-period stop on Lightning center Steven Stamkos.
The Wells Fargo Center was at its loudest, though, when Zac Rinaldo took on Tampa Bay’s B.J. Crombeen. It didn’t take long for the underdog Rinaldo -- three inches and 40 pounds lighter than Crombeen -- to knock the Lightning winger unconscious.
That contest must have inspired horror flick director Rob Zombie, in the building to observe Flyers fans in their natural habitat. Zombie is working on a film influenced by the Broad Street Bullies.
Sestito scores twice to lift Flyers over Lightning
CSN Philly | Feb 6