Adam Hall's wrist shot in Tuesday night's shootout had the goaltender beat.
"It was there," the Lightning right wing said. "I saw it. It was open. (The puck) just nicked off his pad."
And then off the post. And that is how close Tampa Bay came to beating the Flyers at the St. Pete Times Forum. Instead, Philadelphia took the 4-3 victory in a seven-round shootout that would have ended after three rounds had Hall gotten the puck past goalie Brian Boucher.
"A game of inches," Hall said.
This is not to assign blame. Several of his teammates also missed in the shootout.
The Lightning (34-17-6) — without forward Ryan Malone and defensemen Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby, all injured — gets credit for keeping focus and energy after falling behind 3-1 in the second period during what Flyers right wing Kris Versteeg said was "like a playoff game."
It had the chippiness.
Lightning star Steven Stamkos got into it with Flyers captain Mike Richards after Richards punched Stamkos in the back of the head.
"High intensity," Versteeg said.
Especially from the Lightning in the second period, when it scored three times, including twice in 53 seconds from Vinny Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell to tie the score 3-3 with 9:02 remaining.
The point for the regulation tie boosted Tampa Bay's lead in the Southeast Division over the Capitals to six points. The Lightning also took seven of eight points from the Flyers, who are No. 1 in the Eastern Conference, in the now-done season series.
"It brings us confidence," Stamkos said. "We've established ourselves as a team who has been hungry all year and isn't going to quit. We're proud to lose in that effort."
Dominic Moore's 10th goal 59 seconds into the second period tied the score 1-1. But things got grim as Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell and Darroll Powe scored in 75 seconds to take a 3-1 lead 8:48 in.
Powe's goal was shorthanded and on a penalty shot. Stamkos was called for hooking Powe on a breakaway after defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron lost the puck at the Flyers' blue line after a difficult-to-handle pass from Marty St. Louis.
"But we battled back and gave ourselves a chance," Jones said.
Hall had a chance to end the shootout tied 1-1 in the third round. Instead, Kimmo Timonen beat Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson to win it 2-1 in the seventh.
"Hall hits the post. If it's half an inch inside, it's a goal and we win the game," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "But the reality is it wouldn't change my view of what we did five-on-five, and that's what counts for me. In the playoffs there won't be any shootouts."
|Flyers win shootout 2-1|
First Period—1, Philadelphia, van Riemsdyk 13 (Giroux, Carter), 12:42. Penalties—van Riemsdyk, Phi, major (fighting), 7:13; R.Jones, TB, major (fighting), 7:13; Briere, Phi (hooking), 17:49.
Second Period—2, TB, D.Moore 10 (Hall), :59. 3, Philadelphia, Hartnell 18 (van Riemsdyk, Meszaros), 7:33 (pp). 4, Philadelphia, Powe 5 (penalty shot), 8:48 (sh). 5, TB, Lecavalier 13 (Bergeron, St. Louis), 9:55 (pp). 6, TB, Purcell 12 (Kubina, Vernace), 10:48. Penalties—Stamkos, TB (hooking), 1:21; O'Donnell, Phi (boarding), 4:32; Kubina, TB (holding), 6:59; van Riemsdyk, Phi (tripping), 8:19; Richards, Phi (roughing, roughing), 11:34; Stamkos, TB (roughing), 11:34.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Ohlund, TB (hooking), 4:15. Overtime—None. Penalties—None. Shootout—Philadelphia 2 (Briere NG, Giroux NG, Richards G, Versteeg NG, Carter NG, Leino NG, Timonen G), TB 1 (Hedman NG, D.Moore G, Hall NG, Gagne NG, Lecavalier NG, Stamkos NG, St. Louis NG). Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 4-15-6-4—29. TB 12-6-8-1—27. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 1 of 3; TB 1 of 4. Goalies—Philadelphia, Boucher 14-6-2 (27 shots-24 saves). TB, Roloson 15-18-2 (29-26). A—16,950 (19,758).