It takes something so unbelievably unpopular to exceed the decibel level of Wells Fargo Center boos that are normally reserved for Sidney Crosby.
Referee Kyle Rehman, a 12-year veteran of over 650 NHL games, managed to do just that Monday night.
With 7:07 remaining in the second period and the Flyers trailing 2-0, Travis Konecny fired a shot that Matt Murray attempted to glove, except he didn’t. He never secured it and within microseconds of the puck hitting Murray’s glove hand, it was on the ice between his legs.
Rehman only assumed Murray had snagged it and wasted little time blowing his whistle, as all five Flyers on the ice raised their hands in disgust knowing Nolan Patrick’s rebound goal couldn’t be overturned and this particular sequence would be the turning point in what Jakub Voracek called “the biggest game of the year.”
It finished as a 4-1 loss to the Penguins (see observations).
The ruling from the NHL’s in-game crew was as follows: “The referee blew his whistle because he lost sight of the puck. It is part of the human factor of the game and from the referee’s position it appeared the puck was covered. The on-ice call was in accordance with Rule 31.2 and is not reviewable.”
Rehman was about 15 feet directly behind the Penguins' net when he lost track of the shot. Interestingly, from Carter Hart’s vantage point some 180 feet away from the play, the Flyers' goaltender appeared to have a better angle. Then again, Hart rarely loses visual of any puck on the ice — except for Sidney Crosby’s goal (see video).
“Yeah, I saw he didn’t catch it, but that’s just unlucky and unfortunate for us,” Hart said.
To his credit, Rehman admitted his mistake almost right away.
“Yeah, he apologized, you've got to respect that. I mean, they make mistakes, too,” Voracek said. “Obviously it was a tough mistake to make, but there’s nothing you can do about it after — just have to refocus and try to get one more.”
It negated the most furious 20-minute offensive barrage in franchise history as the Flyers peppered Murray with a team-record 28 shots on net in the second period alone, and finishing with 51 for the game.
Murray was simply unbelievable and the Flyers were remarkably unlucky.
“It would have been probably a different game,” said Sean Couturier, who saw his four-game goal streak come to an end. “Going in to the third [period] down one, it’s totally different. Got to force things and try to create more offense and pushing when there’s not always something. So definitely, it hurt us.”
A regulation victory over the Penguins would have pulled the Flyers within four points of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they now find themselves down eight with 26 games remaining in their regular season.
“I think it all depends on how we respond [Tuesday],” interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “If we’re going to sulk over it and think it’s the end of the season, then it’s a big loss. But if we play like we did tonight, then one game isn’t going to be the defining moment of the year.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.