TAMPA — For Mark Recchi, the Lightning's 6-1 loss to the Flyers Friday night was not entirely decided on the ice.
Two video reviews conducted in the league's offices in Toronto, both of which disallowed apparent Tampa Bay goals and both of which Recchi believes were wrong, were as much a factor as anything that happened at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"They have to be better at that, better than that," Recchi said. "We're fighting for our playoff lives, and they make calls like that. It's not right. I think they made huge mistakes, and it really hurt our hockey club."
"Besides the emotion, they took away two goals," defenseman Steve Eminger said. "The emotion is not even half of it."
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, some housekeeping:
Tampa Bay (17-23-10) lost consecutive games for the first time since Jan 1-3, and Vinny Prospal got its only tally, on the power play, in a contest that included two fights, several scrums and 19 penalties for 60 minutes.
Rookie goalie Riku Helenius played his first NHL game after Mike Smith was pulled for the first time this season. The team went 1-for-9 on the power play, including a failed five-on-three of 1:47, and Marty St. Louis missed the net on a third-period penalty shot with the Flyers leading 3-1.
Still, Tampa Bay dictated play most of the game and outshot Philadelphia 42-32. But as rookie Steven Stamkos lamented, "Two disallowed goals, that changes the game right there."
"It's not often you see your team get two breaks like that," Flyers coach John Stevens said.
Lightning coach Rick Tocchet, in a closed-door meeting, was not available for comment.
Recchi's apparent power-play goal with 37.1 seconds left in the first, which was ruled good by the on-ice officials, was disallowed because the league ruled the wing kicked the puck into the net. Instead of a 2-1 Tampa Bay lead, the score remained 1-1.
Stamkos' apparent goal 7:06 into the third would have cut the Flyers' lead to 3-2. But a review upheld the ruling that his stick was above the crossbar.
"I'm 100 percent sure," Stamkos said when asked if he believes the goal was good. "I hit it on the way down. I don't know why the ref waived it off right away. From his standpoint, if it's that close, how can you make that call. It's a tough one to swallow."
Talk about a letdown. Philadelphia scored three goals in the next six minutes.
Recchi's situation was even more critical because of when it happened and how the dynamic of the game would have changed.
"They made the wrong call," Recchi said.
No one disputed the puck bounced off Recchi's skate as he stood in front of the net. The league, though, ruled his foot moved forward.
"What you had was a distinct kicking motion by Recchi, whether it was intentional or not," league hockey operations chief Mike Murphy said. "What took us so long was we were looking to see if he got it with his stick."
Recchi said it did not matter if he got it with his stick because he did not kick it.
"If you look at it in fast motion, there's no way I can react to that puck," he said. "It hits me in the shin pad, hits the top of my foot and goes in the net. It's a terrible call on their part, and it made a big difference in the game."
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Richards 17 (Knuble, S.Gagne), 7:03. 2, Tampa Bay, Prospal 13 (Ranger), 17:55 (pp). Penalties—Cote, Phi, major (fighting), 5:23; Koci, TB, major (fighting), 5:23; Hartnell, Phi (roughing), 8:34; Malone, TB (roughing), 8:34; Malone, TB (holding), 11:06; Stamkos, TB (tripping), 13:39; Knuble, Phi (high-sticking), 13:44; Upshall, Phi (interference), 16:31; Coburn, Phi (hooking), 18:21.
Second Period—3, Philadelphia, R.Jones 2 (Richards, Carle), 8:05 (pp). 4, Philadelphia, Richards 18 (Lupul, R.Jones), 14:41. Penalties—Asham, Phi (slashing), 3:18; Timonen, Phi (hooking), 3:31; Eminger, TB (tripping), 6:12; Alberts, Phi (roughing), 10:54; Halpern, TB (tripping), 13:03; S.Gagne, Phi (holding stick), 14:22; Coburn, Phi (roughing), 17:24; Malone, TB (high-sticking), 17:24; Coburn, Phi, major (fighting), 19:31; Malone, TB, major (fighting), 19:31.
Third Period—5, Philadelphia, Carter 31 (Hartnell, Timonen), 7:59. 6, Philadelphia, Hartnell 18 (Vaananen, Niittymaki), 10:47 (pp). 7, Philadelphia, Carter 32, 13:08. Penalties—Artyukhin, TB (tripping), 4:27; Asham, Phi (roughing, charging), 8:38; Downie, TB (roughing), 8:38; Lupul, Phi (hooking), 17:21. Missed Penalty Shot—St. Louis, TB, 5:03 third. Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 10-11-11—32. Tampa Bay 16-11-15—42. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 2 of 5; Tampa Bay 1 of 9. Goalies—Philadelphia, Niittymaki 11-3-4 (42 shots-41 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith 14-18-9 (30-24), Helenius (13:08 third, 2-2). A—18,120 (19,758).