PHILADELPHIA – There’s a very minor character in the popular mob movie “Goodfellas” who has a propensity to immediately repeat himself.
For instance, when announcing to his fellow mobsters that he is going to go purchase the daily racing forms for the horse track, this guy boldly states:
I’m gonna go get the papers, get the papers.”
He earned a nickname from his crew – Tommy Two Times.
Considering the game Tom Sestito had for the Flyers, it might be his nickname for the foreseeable future.
Sestito, the erstwhile fourth liner for the Flyers scored not one, bot both goals for his team in a gritty, 2-1 victory over the high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning.
Not only that, Sestito used the same slippery backhand-to-the-five-hole move on both goals.
“Yeah, I’ve got one [move],” Sestito said. “Hopefully no goalies catch on to that. If it works once, then I’m going to keep doing it until it stops working.”
So far, he’s two-for-two and now is tied for third on the team in goals this season.
“You know, we talk about scoring – like being a sniper,” said Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 21 saves and was again a rock in net. “And he said, ‘If I became a sniper,’ he would change his name for the Russian last name from Sestito to ‘Sestitov.’”
Call him Two Times. Call him Sestitov. Call him the No. 1 Star of the game. Whatever you want to call him, he was the offensive difference in the hockey game Tuesday, a completely unexpected role for him to play.
“It is great Tom chipped in like that,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “He’s a big body that goes up and down the wing. He does a lot for our club and for him to get the two goals tonight it has make him feel good. Makes us feel good too.”
The Flyers definitely have to feel good having won two straight for just the second time this season (4-6-0, eight points), and will look to put together their first real winning streak when Florida comes to Philly Thursday.
They especially have to feel good about the way they played against a Tampa team that was averaging nearly five goals a game.
They limited the Lightning to just 22 shots and one goal, played disciplined hockey and only had to kill off two penalties, which they did, and blocked 18 more shots – something they seem to be doing more of over the last couple games (50 total).
“I thought the penalty kill did a really nice job,” Laviolette said. “They are a dangerous group out there, but I thought our guys took away time and space. Our defenseman did a good job with sticks on pucks and eliminating gaps. Our forwards did a good job reloading and coming back hard to our end. We blocked a lot of shots tonight and cleaned up the front of the net.
“There were still a lot of good quality chances for the talented group on the other side. When we needed it, Bryzgalov was outstanding.”
His game has been superb all season, but he really provided the Flyers – and the fans in the building – with energy with one big stop after another.
His post-to-post pad stop on Steven Stamkos was a beauty and his swat of a Cory Conacher rebound that he knocked over the net was perfect focus.
The lone blemish came in the third period when Bruno Gervais inexplicably abandoned Benoit Pouliot in front of the net and Teddy Purcell made a no-look pass in front that Bryzgalov had no chance of stopping.
The game was akin to a boxing match with a lot of body blows early, but the biggest blow may have come from Zac Rinaldo, who laid out B.J. Crombeen in a fight.
Rinaldo landed three solid punches to Crombeen’s head, two that came as Crombeen was falling to the ice.
It led to a lot of discussion, but wasn’t deemed illegal. Rinaldo even double-checked with referee Kerry Sutherland after the intermission, and the veteran ref concurred that Rinaldo had not done wrong.
I kind of felt bad if maybe I didn’t stop myself but I’m pretty sure I did,” Rinaldo said. “I even asked Kelly; I asked him what he thought and he said, ‘No you’re good, it was fine you hit him right before he went down, you made him fall down.’”
Crombeen didn’t see it that way.
“Typically when I’ve gotten into fights with guys in that position, you stop throwing [punches],” Crombeen said. “I mean guys fight different ways, so I’m not really going to say if it was dirty or not. I mean if you’re fighting, you’re fighting. You’re putting yourself in that situation, and you know the consequences.”
Nevertheless, a fight in the third period between Vincent Lecavalier and Max Talbot saw Lecavalier take an extra swing at Talbot when he was on the ice, which many thought was retaliatory.
All the shenanigans and posturing aside, the game came down to Sestito on offense and Bryzgalov in goal.
Sestito took a beauty of a cross-ice pass from Jake Voracek and came in alone on Anders Lindback and bet him five-hole for his first goal as a Flyer and first in the NHL since 2010.
Then, Sestito broke a 1-1 tie in the third period taking a similar pass from Talbot and making the same move on Lindback for the game-winner.
“It’s great to contribute like that and not just fight all the time,” Sestito said.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37