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Lightning earns powerful victory

Four power-play goals and Brad Richards' three assists help lead to a 5-3 win against the Rangers.

By FRANK PASTOR

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 30, 2002


TAMPA -- Lightning center Tim Taylor received nine stitches in his cheek after taking a puck to the face. Two stitches were needed to repair defenseman Stan Neckar's nose after a high stick.

The Lightning was bloodied, but it was the Rangers who were bowed Sunday.

Refusing to be goaded into penalties, the Lightning took advantage of undisciplined play by the Rangers in a 5-3 victory before 17,837 at the St. Pete Times Forum.

As New York watched from the penalty box, Tampa Bay scored a season-high four power-play goals, including two by Dave Andreychuk, in 13 opportunities.

"A huge part of (Sunday's) game was to stay disciplined and not be drawn into any stupid penalties," Lightning left wing Fredrik Modin said. "I think we did a good job at that."

The Lightning record for most power-play goals in a game is five, set in a 6-1 victory against Buffalo on March19, 1995. Sunday was the fifth time it had scored four.

The victory was the Lightning's second straight since the Christmas break and extended its division lead to four points.

Tampa Bay scored five goals for the second straight game after getting four in its previous four.

"These are the games that you have to battle to get points because it's more or less set-up time," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. 'It puts you in a situation of, what are you going to be doing in February? Are you going to be looking in or looking out?"

The Rangers had 35 penalty minutes compared with 21 for the Lightning. Bobby Holik committed four penalties.

"I want to do things to make the team win, and obviously, you can always do better," Holik said. "We are a very easy team to be thrown off of our focus because of the way that things have been going."

The Lighting is 3-1 against the Rangers, who have won just twice in their past 12 games.

Coach Bryan Trottier didn't have to look far for the culprit.

"We need more discipline, more attention, more focus," he said. "It's different guys at different times. I've had enough of it."

Ruslan Fedotenko's power-play goal with 3:31 left in the second period put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1, but Andreychuk's man-advantage tally with 11 seconds left in the period was the back-breaker.

After Mikael Samuelsson was called for obstruction/holding with 4:05 left, Brad Richards slid a pass from the point to Fedotenko low in the left circle. Fedotenko's shot caromed off defenseman Tom Poti and past Mike Dunham.

New York robbed itself of any chance at a rally by taking three penalties 41 seconds apart, giving the Lightning a 5-on-3 advantage that carried into the third period.

Holik was called for holding Andreychuk with 1:10 left. While he was in the box, Poti (slashing) and Ronald Petrovicky (high sticking) were sent off for committing penalties on the same play.

The Lightning needed just 18 seconds to take advantage. Vinny Lecavalier slid a pass to defenseman Dan Boyle, who strode to his right and blistered a shot from the top of the slot that Andreychuk redirected past Dunham to make it 3-1.

The Lightning had 1:31 left on the 5-on-3 when the third period started but didn't threaten.

New York, however, countered with a power-play goal at 5:57. With Modin in the box for hooking, defenseman Joel Bouchard scored on a wrist shot from just inside the blue line to make it 3-2.

Petr Nedved's four-minute penalty for high sticking led to Andreychuk's second power-play goal.

Andreychuk, who had been penalized for high sticking at 10:03, left the penalty box and took a pass from Modin in the center ice zone. He deked around a defender and snapped a shot from the slot that gave the Lightning a 5-2 lead with 7:51 left.

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