Rob Zepp is having a pretty amazing year. At 33 years old Zepp had finally got his shot at an NHL role and made a good impression. In fact, he made such a good impression that when Steve Mason was injured again and Zepp was called up, Berube decided to give Zepp the start over regular backup Ray Emery. Zepp was handed his 2nd NHL game against some tough competition too, one of the top teams in the Eastern conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Not only are the Lightning one of the top teams in the east right now, known for scoring and being very competent at keeping opponents from getting shots on net, the Flyers have a pretty bad record against the Lightning in recent years.
The last time the Flyers beat the Lightning, Tom Sestito scored the only 2 goals. So Vandevelde just needs one more right? #FlyersTalk
— Billy Peterson (@Billy_Peterson1) January 13, 2015
In case you didn’t know the Flyers haven’t had Tom Sestito since the 2012-13 season.
Starting Zepp was a very calculated move according to Craig Berube who said that he liked the energy that Zepp brought to the game. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos seemed to think that starting Zepp was a good move on the Flyers part suggesting that the Flyers would be a tougher team to play against in front of the call up goalie. The Flyers do have a habit of playing better for Ray Emery, so it’s not a wild idea that they would play even better for Zepp. Stamkos’s prediction came true as the Flyers had a total 7 goals from 7 different players, giving Zepp his 2nd win and his first win on home ice.
“Probably feels even better than the first time around,” Zepp said. “What can I say? The guys played outstanding tonight; to build a 7-1 lead against a team like that is incredible. … They have a lot of offensive power and we hung with it today. Thought we did a really good job tonight.”
The high point of the game was the beginning of the 2nd period in which the Flyers scored 4 goals in under 9 minutes. Tampa Bay pulled Nabakov early in the 2nd period(2:36ish) after allowing 4 goals, 2 of which were scored under a minute apart, for Ben Bishop who then allowed 3 more goals in the 2nd period. Let’s talk a bit about the Flyers lack of secondary scoring; Chris VandeVelde, R.J. Umberger, Pierre-Edouard Bellmare, Mark Streit, Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl each scored a goal the only primary scorer with a goal was Jake Voracek who scored a power play goal to start the second period. If this type of scoring could show up a bit more consistently they’d probably save a lot of Flyers fans from stress related heart problems. Another pretty impressive stat that you won’t likely see from the Flyers much more is the amount of shots they allowed on Zepp. In the 1st period, Zepp only faced 5 shots, in 2 periods the Lightning only had 11 shots on goal a defensive feat that was akin to a miracle for the Flyers defense.
The Flyers did seem to let up on the gas late in the game, perhaps a bit too comfortable with their 6 goal lead, and let 2 more goals in; although one goal was a freak bounce high above the players heads that managed to fall in behind Zepp before he could even find it in the air.
The win was also riddled with injuries for both teams; the Lightning lost defenseman Victor Hedman and forward Tyler Johnson to “lower-body injuries” and the Flyers lost defenseman Braydon Coburn after he blocked a shot with the side of his foot. News released about Coburn’s injury tells us that he’ll be out for about 4 weeks with a broken foot. The loss of Coburn is seen by some as a bad thing, but by most as a pretty great thing by most fans. Coburn’s empty slot will allow Carlo Colaiacovo to get a shot to earn a more permanent spot on the blue line after being scratched for 26 games.