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Disputed Bruins goal still burns

It should not have counted, Lightning goaltender Marc Denis said.

The league should have disallowed Zdeno Chara's goal.

"There is no doubt in my mind."

Chara scored with 46.6 seconds left in the third period to give the Bruins a tie with Tampa Bay en route to a 6-5 overtime victory Nov. 4 at TD Banknorth Garden.

A video review found no conclusive reason to overrule referee Chris Rooney's call the airborne puck was below the crossbar when Chara hit into the net.

With the teams set for tonight's rematch, it didn't take much to irritate the old wound.

"We went from winning a game to battling for our lives for 45 seconds to get it into overtime and get a point," Denis said. "It was a game-changing situation."

It also exposed a weak spot in a review process that could, potentially, exclude crucial replays. That, said some in the Lightning organization, is just what happened.

"But what can you do?" def-enseman Nolan Pratt said Wednesday. "It's over and done with."

The NHL mostly relies on television replays for reviews. It generally takes them from one production company even if two (one for the home team, one for the visitors) cover a game.

Mike Murphy, the NHL's vice president of hockey operations, said the league accesses multiple feeds for playoff games. But with the NHL rushing toward parity and every point as coveted as an Xbox 360, could the lack of such access in regular-season games be considered a hole in the system?

"I don't want to admit cutting short in any area," Murphy said. "But we probably are cutting short if you put it like that."

In the case of Tampa Bay and Boston, Murphy said officials in the league offices in Toronto, where goals are reviewed, opted for the high-definition feed from NESN, which produces games for the Bruins: "We opt for the feed we think is the best with the most camera angles.

"We could never ask for better viewing than on that play. We had six replays. We had every angle we could to make this call.''

A DVD provided to the Times by the Lightning, which recorded the telecast, showed NESN's replays and camera angles, all apparently inconclusive, including a shot from the NHL camera above the net.

But Denis, some teammates and coach John Tortorella said at the time they saw a replay they believe showed Chara striking the puck above the crossbar, which would have nullified the goal.

The view was from a camera used by Sun Sports, which telecasts Lightning games in the Tampa Bay area.

"That was our camera that had that shot," executive producer Ned Tate said. "That's why we saw it."

The camera shot looked slightly down toward the Lightning goal from a spot in the stands above the protective netting at the opposite end of the arena. On a DVD Sun Sports provided, the camera zooms in as defenseman Filip Kuba clobbers Chara from behind and Chara's stick shaft appears to hit the puck past Denis.

Would that view have changed anything? Without seeing the replay, Murphy was skeptical.

"You have to be at crossbar level," he said. "You couldn't be above it or below it. When you get above it or below it a couple of inches, you distort the picture."

NHL spokesman Gary Meagher said the league's video-review room has 13 televisions hooked up to recording devices including two 60-inchers on which replays are evaluated.

To ensure access to all feeds in a 30-team league, Murphy said, "We would have to almost double our monitors, have more satellite dishes. But even then, they might not have a shot that changes it. You can go all year and never use the second feed because they never have a shot better than the first."

Denis disagrees.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

FAST FACTS

See for yourself

Check links.tampabay.com for the video that Sun Sports shot of Boston's disputed goal against the Lightning on Nov. 4.

UP NEXT

Tonight: Lightning at Bruins

When/where: 7; TD Banknorth Garden, Boston.

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM.

What to watch for: The Bruins are one of the league's hottest teams with wins in seven of its past nine. Both losses were at home. ... Goalie Tim Thomas is 7-2-0 with a .935 save percentage and a 2.04 goals-against average during the streak. ... Tampa Bay is 6-4-1 on the road. ... Boston entered Wednesday with the league's worst home penalty kill at 77.3 percent. The Lightning (69.1) had the worst road penalty kill. ... Boston's Glen Murray was tied for the league lead with four game-winning goals. ... The Lightning trails the season series 0-1-1. It is 2-16-2 with six ties in Boston.

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