NEWARK, N.J. — This is how frustrating things got for the Lightning on Thursday night against the Devils:
Coach Guy Boucher was mad enough at referee Don Van Massenhoven for what seemed a questionable tripping call on Marty St. Louis and a questionable high-sticking call on Adam Hall that he got a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That led to two third-period five-on-three goals for the Devils in 14 seconds, by Andy Greene and Patrick Elias, the turning point in a 4-2 New Jersey victory at the Prudential Center.
"I will certainly not comment on that," Boucher said about the referees but then added, "I didn't see any penalties. I didn't see anything. I just watched the video. I didn't see anything. I guess I have to look at it another 20 times."
It was the third straight loss for the Lightning (6-4-0), which was outshot 27-19, including 11-4 in the second period. The power play was 0-for-4 with two shots and is 1-for-17 on the road.
Oh, yeah, and there was another bad goal allowed by Anders Lindback, who lost the puck after stopping Anton Volchenkov's second-period shot, allowing Adam Henrique to pop in the rebound.
Nate Thompson tied the score with 6:41 left in the second, and Ilya Kovalchuk's shorthanded goal with 2:26 left after a turnover by Sami Salo made it 2-1.
So, despite an uneven effort, Tampa Bay was still in it. Birthday boy Steven Stamkos even had a chance to tie it 3:13 into the third but missed the net from in close with goalie Marty Brodeur out of position.
"I just missed an open net, not much to it," Stamkos, 23, said. "I thought I made a great play to be patient with it and not rush it, and pulled out the goalie. I just went far side with it. When things aren't going your way and you're not getting the bounces, those don't go in."
Them St. Louis was called for a phantom tripping penalty and Hall 18 seconds later for high-sticking as he followed through on a clearing attempt.
That's when Boucher had words with Van Massenhoven, who teed him up. Greene and Elias scored to make it 4-1 with 4:44 left.
So, to recap, that was 0-for-4 on the power play for the Lightning, and two-five-on-three goals allowed and a shorty while falling to 1-3-0 on the road.
"It's frustrating, especially since we got some opportunities," left wing Ryan Malone said, "and the refs are going to call what they're going to call. We have to get the job done."
First Period—None. Penalties—Larsson, NJ (interference), 9:36.
Second Period—1, NJ, Henrique 3 (Volchenkov, Elias), 3:28. 2, TB, Thompson 2 (St. Louis), 13:19. 3, NJ, Kovalchuk 3, 17:34 (sh). Penalties—Mikkelson, TB (tripping), 4:37; Salvador, NJ (delay of game), 10:25; Barch, NJ (tripping), 13:58; NJ bench, served by Butler (abuse of officials), 16:23.
Third Period—4, NJ, Greene 2 (Clarkson, Elias), 15:02 (pp). 5, NJ, Elias 3 (Kovalchuk, Greene), 15:16 (pp). 6, TB, Carle 2 (St. Louis, Stamkos), 17:45. Penalties—St. Louis, TB (tripping), 13:29; Hall, TB (high-sticking), 13:47; TB bench, served by Bergeron (abuse of officials), 13:47; Hedman, TB (hooking), 17:25; Clarkson, NJ (diving), 17:25. Shots on Goal—TB 8-4-7—19. NJ 11-11-5—27. Power-play opportunities—TB 0 of 4; NJ 2 of 4. Goalies—TB, Lindback 5-3-0 (27 shots-23 saves). NJ, Brodeur 5-1-2 (19-17). Referees—Chris Rooney, Don Van Massenhoven. Linesmen—Derek Nansen, Ryan Galloway.