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.
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Betts 2 (Carcillo, Laperriere), 3:59. 2, Philadelphia, Richards 14 (Gagne, Pronger), 9:34 (pp). Penalties—Downie, 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 Period—3, Tampa Bay, Konopka 1 (Downie), 5:58. 4, Tampa Bay, Hedman 3 (Foster, St. Louis), 12:02. Penalties—Bartulis, Phi (slashing), 1:55; Gagne, Phi (roughing), 3:23; Asham, Phi (hooking), 14:57.
Third Period—5, Philadelphia, Betts 3 (Bartulis, Laperriere), 10:01. 6, Philadelphia, Richards 15 (Giroux, Bartulis), 17:22. 7, Philadelphia, Gagne 2 (Giroux, Richards), 19:26 (en). Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 16-4-16—36. Tampa Bay 9-14-10—33. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—Philadelphia, Leighton 2-4-0 (33 shots-31 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith 6-10-5 (35-31). A—16,177 (19,758). T—2:20. Referees—Tim Peel, Frederick L'Ecuyer. Linesmen—Jonny Murray, Pierre Racicot.