But instead of seizing the opportunity, the Flyers were alarmingly flat. They managed a total of 21 shots, and many came in the last two minutes, when they were in a 3-0 hole.
"I didn't think we competed enough in the battles," coach Craig Berube said. "They came hard with pressure and forechecked hard and we didn't handle it."
The Flyers had been on a 6-0-1 run before dropping a 3-1 decision to the lowly Panthers in South Florida on Monday, followed by Wednesday's just-as-uninspiring loss to the Lightning.
The top line - Claude Giroux centering Jake Voracek and Scott Hartnell - struggled against Tampa Bay, managing a combined total of three shots, one assist, and a minus-2 rating.
Berube said the line "didn't do a good enough job. They've got to lead the way."
The coach also was critical of Giroux and Voracek for failing to backcheck on a two-on-one that produced a shorthanded goal by Ondrej Palat on a rebound. That put the Flyers down, 2-0.
"It takes the wind out, that's for sure," Berube said.
In the last two games, the Flyers resembled the offense-challenged team that got off to a 1-7 start.
They will try to regroup Friday in an 11:30 a.m. home game against Winnipeg.
"I've never played that early," said Flyers veteran center Vinny Lecavalier, whose return to Tampa was ruined by the team's lackluster effort. "You've got to get the energy right away. We're not used to playing at that time, but after two losses, we have to start the right way."
Lecavalier had a goal and four hits Wednesday, while playing in his first game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum since the Lightning bought out his contract. Lecavalier spent 14 years in Tampa Bay, where he is revered for his hockey talent and his off-ice philanthropy.
There were two video tributes to Lecavalier during the first period, including one that showed him visiting children at the pediatric cancer center that his foundation built. From the bench, Lecavalier waved to the crowd, which gave him two standing ovations during the night, and players from both sides tapped their sticks on the ice or bench to show their respect.
Even the officials were clapping.
"We didn't win, and I'm disappointed with that, but I had a great experience," Lecavalier said after the game. "The fans were supportive of me, and it definitely means a lot."
Breakaways. Wayne Simmonds was stopped on a first-period penalty shot. That made the Flyers 0 for 3 on penalty shots this season - two attempts by Simonds, one by Adam Hall - and 19 for 49 (38.8 percent) in franchise history. . . . Winger Michael Raffl, who replaced the injured Matt Read, had five shots (two on goal). Read is listed as day-to-day with an unspecified injury. . . . After Friday's game, the Flyers (10-12-2) go on a six-game road trip, so it may be a while before they have a chance to get over .500. . . . The Flyers, who have power-play goals in eight straight games, hope to avenge their 3-2 shootout loss to Winnipeg. In that Nov. 15 game, the Flyers allowed 38 shots and two power-play goals.