St. Petersburg Times
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Andreychuk moving up list for longevity

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002

PITTSBURGH -- Of all the milestones Dave Andreychuk likely will reach this season, the Lightning left wing said he is most proud of the one he achieved Saturday night against the Penguins at Mellon Arena.

Andreychuk, in his 21st season, played in his 1,447th game, passing Tim Horton for 10th all-time.

"Games played mean a lot," Tampa Bay's captain said. "It's a direct indication of the way you feel about the game, and being prepared to play. I am proud of that."

Andreychuk needs six goals to be the 14th player with 600. His 296 power-play goals are three fewer than Phil Esposito's record. He needs 40 games to tie Wayne Gretzky for ninth all-time.

"Not even close," Andreychuk said when asked if he thought of playing this long when he broke in with the Sabres in 1982. "It's kind of flown by for everybody. I guess it's because I just never considered packing it in. ... I just knew I was going to get ready for the next season."

LECAVALIER BLAZING: Center Vinny Lecavalier had three goals and four assists in his first four games. It took him 15 games to reach three goals last season, 19 to reach seven points.

"It's just my focus," he said. "I'm not going to let anything bother me. I'm just going to play my game and help the team."

Fun stat: If Lecavalier, who is plus-4, keeps this pace, he will end with 62 goals and 164 points.

Important stat: In the past five games in which Lecavalier has scored going back to last season, Tampa Bay is 4-0-1.

"I don't want to say anything," Lecavalier said about his good start. "There are 82 games in a season. You can't be satisfied after three games. My goal this year is to be consistent."

* * *

MODIN FAN: That would be Penguins goaltender Johan Hedberg, who faced Lightning left wing Fredrik Modin and his 102.1 mph slap shot regularly in their native Sweden.

"Heavy, heavy shot," Hedberg said. "You just look at his stick, the way it bends when he shoots so hard. It looks like a banana. No question he has one of the hardest shots of anyone. I don't think too many people here realize it, and I don't think too many people in Sweden talked about it either. But the goalies knew."

A LIGHTNING BOOSTER: That would be Penguins coach Rick Kehoe. "They're a good hockey team," he said. "They're a team on the rise."

ODDS AND ENDS: Defenseman Nolan Pratt was a healthy scratch for the fourth consecutive game. ... Left wing Chris Dingman served the final game of a two-game suspension for a high-sticking incident with Carolina's Jesse Boulerice.


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