Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Philadelphia Flyers 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2; Zenon Konopka calls out teammates

TAMPA — The last thing Zenon Konopka wanted to hear was excuses.

The Lightning lost to the Flyers 5-2 Wednesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, and the center knew just where to put the blame.

"It's unacceptable," Konopka said. "It's painful. It's frustrating to have that much talent in our room and not come out. The intensity has to raise. The passion has to raise. It's just the truth.

"It's not intense enough. It's not passionate enough. It's not good enough. It's not good enough at all."

Tampa Bay (13-15-9) was coming off two feel-good victories to end its seasonlong six-game road trip. Maintaining momentum was paramount, and Philadelphia was on the ropes with three wins in its previous 17 games.

But the Flyers showed more urgency in taking a 2-0 first-period lead.

And after Tampa Bay, with a 14-4 second-period shot advantage, tied the score on goals by Konopka, his first of the season, and defenseman Victor Hedman, the Flyers scored three in the third, including Blair Betts' tip-in winner with 9:59 left.

It was Betts' second goal of the game. He entered with one.

"After a second period like that, to come out in the third and get outbattled for pucks in certain situations, it's not good enough. It just isn't," Konopka said. "If we continue on this road, we're not making the playoffs. There's no secret about it."

Not at all. Tampa Bay has just three wins in its past 14 games and has lost four of its past five at home.

"You've got to learn to win, I guess," coach Rick Tocchet said and added, "These are learning experiences. But sometimes you get tired of saying it's learning. It's like we're feeling the water with our toes. We've got to jump in. We know it's safe, so let's go. I think sometimes we test our foot in the water.

"Yeah, it drives us nuts, for sure."

Consider these moments:

• Defenseman Andrej Meszaros inadvertently poking the puck past goaltender Mike Smith for the Flyers' first goal, credited to Betts.

• Steve Downie's unnecessary cross-checking penalty in the first period that resulted in the first of Mike Richards' two goals for Philadelphia (16-18-2).

• Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Alex Tanguay combining for three shots in the third period.

Now consider the notion that it's tough for teams to find their legs in the first game after a long road trip.

Reminding Konopka was like throwing a grenade.

"If we were at the top of our division, yeah, we could say we came back from a road trip," he said. "But we put ourselves in this position. No one else did. We did. So there's no excuses after a long road trip. It's unacceptable.

"I don't care what league you're playing. You play in East Coast, you play in the AHL, you play in junior, it's unacceptable. It's one thing losing to better teams when you don't have the horses. We have the horses.

"The two days (off) now, obviously, including myself, everybody has to look in the mirror," Konopka said.

And no covering your eyes.

Flyers 2 0 3 5
Lightning 0 2 0 2

First Period1, Philadelphia, Betts 2 (Carcillo, Laperriere), 3:59. 2, Philadelphia, Richards 14 (Gagne, Pronger), 9:34 (pp). PenaltiesDownie, TB (cross-checking), 9:01; Carcillo, Phi (cross-checking), 10:31; Lecavalier, TB (slashing), 10:31; Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 13:25; Carcillo, Phi (roughing), 18:09; Konopka, TB (roughing), 18:09; Downie, TB (roughing), 18:09.

Second Period3, Tampa Bay, Konopka 1 (Downie), 5:58. 4, Tampa Bay, Hedman 3 (Foster, St. Louis), 12:02. PenaltiesBartulis, Phi (slashing), 1:55; Gagne, Phi (roughing), 3:23; Asham, Phi (hooking), 14:57.

Third Period5, Philadelphia, Betts 3 (Bartulis, Laperriere), 10:01. 6, Philadelphia, Richards 15 (Giroux, Bartulis), 17:22. 7, Philadelphia, Gagne 2 (Giroux, Richards), 19:26 (en). PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalPhiladelphia 16-4-16—36. Tampa Bay 9-14-10—33. Power-play opportunitiesPhiladelphia 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. GoaliesPhiladelphia, Leighton 2-4-0 (33 shots-31 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith 6-10-5 (35-31). A16,177 (19,758). T2:20. Referees—Tim Peel, Frederick L'Ecuyer. LinesmenJonny Murray, Pierre Racicot.

Flyers 5

Lightning 2

Philadelphia Flyers 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2; Zenon Konopka calls out teammates 12/23/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2009 10:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)