TAMPA, Fla. -- It was bound to happen at some point.
You can't hide from the whistles forever. The Flyers, the NHL's far and away leader in minor penalties through the first 8 days of the season, found out the hard way in Sunday evening's 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the high-powered Lightning offense.
Tampa Bay scored three times - twice on the power play - in a span of 4:21 in the first period to erase a lead Sean Couturier gave the Flyers in the first 59 seconds.
Yes, the Flyers are one of only 3 teams to have played 6 games so far, including Chicago and St. Louis, but they are also the least disciplined. The Flyers have 39 minor penalties called against them - an average of 6.5 per game. Buffalo (5 GP) is second with 30 minor penalties.
St. Louis entered their 6th game on Sunday night with 23 minors; Chicago with 18 (7th fewest).
The Lightning never looked back from that 3-1 lead, pouring it on with two more goals in the third period. Even when it didn't officially count on the scoresheet as a power play goal, Steven Stamkos' third tally of the season came just 12 seconds after Braydon Coburn exited the box midway through the third.
The loss cost the Flyers (2-4-0) a chance to even their record heading home from a back-to-back set in the Sunshine State. It was a polarizing weekend: a 5-1 defeat on the heels of a 7-1 rout across the state against the Panthers on Saturday night.
The penalties made for an unforgiving debut for Michael Leighton, who allowed all 5 goals in his first start of the season. It was Leighton's first NHL start since April 24, 2011, in which he was pulled from a playoff game against Buffalo. Ilya Bryzgalov was given the night off after 5 straight starts, in which he has played well.
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