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Dwyer's bouts get team going

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 22, 2002

TAMPA -- Lightning left wing Gordie Dwyer had just 54 seconds of ice time in the first period of Monday night's game against the Devils. But they were some of the game's most important.

Dwyer fought twice in the first period, first against defenseman Ken Daneyko, then against defenseman Colin White.

Dwyer said the battle against Daneyko, 2:55 into the game with the Lightning down 1-0, was calculated to get his teammates fired up.

Dwyer said White, who is Dwyer's friend, just wanted to get some payback for Daneyko.

Whatever the motivations, the battles had the desired effect. Tampa Bay scored three times in the first period and held on for a 3-2 victory at the Ice Palace.

"Gordie Dwyer did a great job," right wing Martin St. Louis said. "He goes out there and fights and the fans and the guys picked up on that emotion."

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't," Dwyer said. "You just hope you can do something for the team."

In 15 games, Dwyer has 35 penalty minutes, a nice sum considering he averages 5:27 of ice time. Last season he had 96 penalty minutes in 28 games. The year before: 135 in 24.

He knows his role, though one reason he was called up from AHL Springfield was that his ability to skate well and fast can help with Tampa Bay's forecheck.

That was not what was needed against the Devils.

"They were a little down," he said of his teammates. "There was an opportunity, so I just tried to do whatever I could."

TAYLOR STILL HURTING: Center Tim Taylor, the team's best faceoff man, has missed seven of eight games with a groin strain. He is day-to-day.

"It's had a tremendous effect on our team," coach John Tortorella said. "Just the chemistry of the intangibles as far as the locker room, his faceoff work, his penalty killing and how he handles himself on the bench. ... He wants to get healthy and come back."

MORE INJURIES: Head medical trainer Dave Boyer said right wings Jimmie Olvestad (concussion) and Sheldon Keefe (sprained knee) will make the four-game road trip that begins Wednesday against the Penguins.

Boyer said if Olvestad is cleared at today's neurological exam, he could play in Pittsburgh. Keefe could be out another 6-10 days. Boyer said defenseman Nolan Pratt (broken leg) could be out another 4-6 weeks.

CLIMBING: Dave Andreychuk got his 646th assist on Ben Clymer's first-period goal, pushing him past Bobby Orr for 46th all time.

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