PHILADELPHIA — How ferocious coach Barry Melrose was in the Lightning locker room between Saturday's first and second periods is open to debate.
As goaltender Mike Smith explained, "It wasn't too bad. No players were hurt."
But Melrose said, "I called them every name under the sun. I challenged their manhood."
The result: a team that in the second and third periods squelched one of the league's highest-scoring clubs to earn a 2-1 victory over the Flyers at the Wachovia Center.
"When we play hard, we're an excellent team. That's what I wanted to get through to them," Melrose said. "When we play with passion and courage, we're a different group."
How's this for different?
Tampa Bay (5-4-4), which had been outscored 14-7 this season in the second, got goals in the period from Jussi Jokinen, his fifth in six games, and Vinny Prospal to overcome a 1-0 deficit.
That Philadelphia, whose 44 goals entering the game were tied for tops in the East, was ahead by only one was thanks to Smith, who made 17 saves in a first period in which the Lightning was outshot 18-5.
"Smitty," Melrose said, "was awesome."
The rest of the team was not, and that was curious. Tampa Bay was coming off Thursday's intense effort against the Rangers; it was a loss, but a model on which to build.
But there was no hitting early in Saturday's game, and there was bad passing and little puck control, setting the stage for the between-periods paint-peeling.
Smith said that associate coach Rick Tocchet was the opening act. "Then Barry came in and added to it."
Smith said it was the first time this season the coaches got in their faces, "so maybe it shocked us a little bit."
The message? "Play with emotion," Smith said, "just to battle and let it all hang out."
"It's amazing," left wing Mark Recchi said. "Sometimes the guys can do it by themselves, but sometimes you need the coaches to come in and make their point and wake the guys up. Tonight it worked."
The Lightning held a 12-5 shot advantage in the second period, gave out nine hits compared with five in the first and won 14 of 19 faceoffs. Ryan Craig fought Arron Asham for the second time in the game.
Recchi's assist on Jokinen's goal was his sixth in six games. Gary Roberts' secondary assist was his first point of the season, and the passing of Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier on Prospal's winning goal with 6:25 left was on-the-fly precise.
Tampa Bay also pulled together its penalty kill, which in its previous six games had allowed nine goals in 30 short-handed situations but Saturday killed four of five and allowed only Daniel Briere's five-on-three tally in the first period.
"Those guys did a good job of coming back," Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "It's just a matter of us bearing down and scoring on chances we had."
Philadelphia had more in the third period and outshot Tampa Bay 12-5 for a 36-22 advantage. But Smith kept order, and Recchi maintained, "In the second and third period, we were the better team."
As for Melrose's lecture, he said, "If I have to do that after every first period, I will. I'm hoping they get to a point … the coach doesn't have to come in and say those mean, nasty things."
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Briere 4 (Gagne, Richards), 17:20 (pp). Penalties—Craig, TB, major (fighting), 15:47; Asham, Phi, major (fighting), 15:47; Hall, TB (interference), 15:54; Malik, TB (cross-checking), 16:18.
Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Jokinen 5 (Recchi, Roberts), 7:58. 3, Tampa Bay, Prospal 3 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 13:35. Penalties—Carter, Phi (hooking), :37; Craig, TB, major (fighting), 3:36; Asham, Phi, major (fighting), 3:36; Hartnell, Phi (interference), 14:58; Lupul, Phi (hooking), 18:27.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Eminger, TB (interference), 3:47; Lundin, TB (high-sticking), 4:52; Gagne, Phi (interference), 5:11; Coburn, Phi (delay of game), 7:26; Meszaros, TB (holding), 11:29; Briere, Phi (slashing), 20:00. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 12-5-5—22. Philadelphia 18-13-5—36. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 5; Philadelphia 1 of 5. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Smith 4-3-3 (36 shots-35 saves). Philadelphia, Biron 3-5-1 (22-20). A—19,412 (19,537).