St. Petersburg Times
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Not enough offense to bother Ottawa

SENS 3, LIGHTNING 1: Tampa Bay gets 17 shots, ruining Dieter Kochan's effort.

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002


OTTAWA -- With television cameras rolling inside the Lightning locker room, left wing Andre Roy, T-shirt drenched from the morning skate, sleeves torn at the shoulders, did his best Hulk Hogan imitation.

The voice was right on target, gravelly with the professional wrestler's preacher-like cadence.

But Roy's prediction, done mostly in fun, that the Senators were "going down," was not.

That's what happens when you aren't working with a script.

The Senators beat the Lightning 3-1 Saturday night at the Corel Centre, spoiling a homecoming eagerly anticipated by 17,859 in the arena.

"It would have been nice to get the win," said Roy, who was traded to the Lightning on March15. "But Ottawa is a pretty good team."

The Senators converted turnovers into third-period goals by Marian Hossa and Radek Bonk to break a tie at 1.

They also did a terrific job protecting the middle of the ice and preventing second chances, holding the Lightning to 17 shots while pumping 36 at Dieter Kochan.

It was the fourth straight loss for Tampa Bay, which got a second-period goal by Sheldon Keefe, and the ninth straight at Ottawa.

It also ended a three-game road trip through Canada with three losses; especially tough to take after the Lightning had played so well at home.

"It is disappointing we got shut out there in three games," coach John Tortorella said of the lack of points. "We have to be able to do it on the road too. In spurts we played very well, but in spurts we didn't."

A microcosm was Kochan, who made some terrific saves, most notably with 18.3 seconds left in the second period on Bonk, who was alone in front of the net.

But Kochan, who stopped 33 shots, admitted the third-period goals, especially the winner by Hossa, who went five-hole at 5:06, were questionable.

"I have to commit," he said. "I have to be solid there."

So does Vinny Lecavalier, who had a chance to tie the score at 2, 9:06 into the third period on a semi-breakaway. As Lecavalier was about to shoot, he was bumped from behind by 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara and poked-checked by goalie Patrick Lalime.

"I thought I was all alone," said Lecavalier, who otherwise has noticeably stepped up his game. "He (Chara) is a pretty tall guy. He just got hold of it."

"The key tonight is we took the lead and we never looked back," Lalime said. "It was just like the old Senators."

There was no doubt these were the Roy-less Senators. The 27-year-old spent 21/2 seasons with Ottawa, and his physical play made him a fan favorite.

He was cheered when he came onto the ice for the pregame skate, when he came out for the opening faceoff and when his face was put on the scoreboard in the second period.

Roy waved and got an even bigger ovation.

The 6-4, 213-pounder tried to get the game off to a rousing start when, on its first shift, he traded stick jabs and body checks with the 255-pound Chara. But nothing came of it.

"He just sticked me. Just playing hard," Roy said. "Just a couple of hits to make sure you keep your head up."

Roy crushed Josh Langfeld into the side boards in the second period, the force of the blow knocking the helmet off the right wing, who sustained a concussion in his NHL debut.

Shane Hnidy tried to get at Roy as he climbed onto the Lightning bench but was pushed away by a linesman.

"If the hit is there, I'm going to make it," said Roy, who tied with Jassen Cullimore for a team-high six hits. "That's my game. That's what I do."

Of Hnidy, he said, "He was just yapping at me. It doesn't bother me. What is he going to do?"

After all, he was going after Hulk Hogan.

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