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Lightning gives up this season's 1st home loss

'HAWKS 3, LIGHTNING 2 (OT): The power play falls short, as does a big play in OT.

By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 10, 2002


TAMPA -- Lightning coach John Tortorella liked defenseman Dan Boyle's aggressive mindset. Boyle liked his chances of getting to the puck. Igor Korolev liked the open ice he saw in front of him.

Boyle's attempt to break up a Tyler Arnason pass near center ice allowed Korolev to break alone on goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, and Korolev scored to give Chicago a 3-2 overtime victory before 18,802 Saturday at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"It would have been a three-on-one," Boyle said. "I knew I could get there, and I did get there. I just fanned on the puck." Korolev's second goal, at 2:39 of overtime, gave Chicago its third consecutive victory and sent Tampa Bay to its third loss in four games and first at home this season.

The Lightning, victorious in its first five at the Forum, fell one short of the team record for consecutive home wins set in 1996 and tied last season.

Tampa Bay slipped to 0-5-2-1 in its past eight meetings with Chicago despite outshooting it 39-18 with a 21:48-3:18 advantage in power-play minutes.

"We were pretty happy with the way we played," Boyle said. "We just didn't convert on the power play."

The Lightning scored two power-play goals but failed to convert 11 other chances, including two 5-on-3s. The 13 chances tied a team record set in 2001 against San Jose.

"They played a period and a half on the penalty kill,"' Chicago coach Brian Sutter said.

Tortorella tried all sorts of combinations, playing five forwards at one point, but was unable to jump start a power play that scored six goals in its past 64 chances. Goalie Jocelyn Thibault was part of the reason, stopping 37 of 39 shots. The loss spoiled a night on which Vinny Lecavalier picked up two assists to give him 201 career points and move past Rob Zamuner into third place on the Lightning's all-time list.

Tampa Bay trailed 2-1 before Vinny Prospal tied it with the Lightning's second power-play goal at 8:42 of the third.

After a collision with a Tampa Bay player knocked Chicago defenseman Lyle Odelein to the ice, Lecavalier picked up the loose puck and skated to the left behind the net. He fed Prospal in the slot, and Prospal scored while falling.

The two had a chance to put Tampa Bay ahead in the final two minutes of regulation, but Thibault stopped a Lecavalier blast from the slot and made a glove save to rob Prospal. Chicago opened the scoring on Korolev's first goal of the season at 5:06 of the first period. Moments after knocking Martin St. Louis to the ice to keep the puck in the Tampa Bay zone, Nathan Dempsey slid a cross-ice pass to Korolev, whose shot from below the left faceoff circle bounced off Khabibulin into the net.

St. Louis tied it with his 10th goal 3 minutes into the second. Lecavalier gained the Chicago zone and dropped a pass to St. Louis, who wristed a shot between Thibault's legs. The goal extended St. Louis' points streak to a career-high seven games, the second-longest active streak in the NHL. The Blues' Doug Weight has a point in nine straight.

A Lightning turnover led to Boris Mironov's goal at 9:35. He intercepted a pass, skated around the defense and banked a shot off the far post to put Chicago ahead 2-1.

Tampa Bay appeared to tie it less than a minute later on Boyle's shot from the left side, but the goal was disallowed when Nolan Pratt was called for goaltender interference.

-- Staff writer Steve Lee contributed to this story.


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