Grahame's stops good for a Lightning point
Martin St. Louis sends game to overtime tied at 2 with third-period goal, and the goalie prevents a loss.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 21, 2003
LOS ANGELES -- The Lightning made a lot out of a little Thursday night.
Despite being significantly outshot, Tampa Bay squeaked by for a tie at 2 with the Kings at the Staples Center.
Martin St. Louis' 32nd goal 4:16 into the third period earned the point for Tampa Bay, which, with 84, lowered to three the number of points it needs to clinch a playoff spot.
But the difference was goalie John Grahame, who made 37 saves as the Kings pressed the action from the start and outshot the Lightning 39-25.
Tampa Bay, one point ahead of the victorious Capitals in the Southeast, is unbeaten in seven (5-0-2), which ties a team record. It is 11-2-5 in its past 18 and 4-1-3 in its past eight on the road.
There was drama right to the final buzzer. Grahame got a piece of a breakaway shot by Derek Armstrong with 14 seconds left in overtime. Grahame then stoned Ziggy Palffy from in front of the net as time wound down.
St. Louis' goal came off Brad Richards' crisp pass from behind the net. But a pinch by defenseman Lukowich made the play possible.
That came after Armstrong's goal 49 seconds into the period that gave Los Angeles a 2-1 advantage.
The Kings came out fast. The Lightning came out slow. So it was no surprise Los Angeles outshot Tampa Bay 11-7 and took a 1-0 lead.
The goal came immediately after the Lightning killed a dubious hooking penalty to defenseman Dan Boyle. The sequence began when Tomas Zizka's shot from the point was deflected wide by a Lightning defender. The puck went behind the goal and bounced to the other side and right to Palffy, whose rebound shot hit off Grahame's elbow and went in for his 32nd goal at 5:44, two minutes after the penalty was called.
Tampa Bay seemed to get a boost after Lightning left wing Chris Dingman fought Ryan Flinn, and the team applied enough pressure to turn a 4-1 deficit in shots into a 6-5 lead.
Dave Andreychuk made a great play at 11:25, beating Aaron Miller down the ice and to the puck behind the Kings goal line and centering for Vinny Lecavalier, whose one-timer hit goalie Jamie Storr in the left arm.
Storr came up big again at 12:06, when Lecavalier passed in front to Andreychuk, who had two whacks at the puck but could not get it past the goalie. That play began with a pass around the boards from defenseman Pavel Kubina.
Storr also stopped Andreychuk's wraparound at 15:40.
Grahame answered with two excellent saves in 10 seconds, stopping Armstrong's tip try and then Eric Belanger's slap shot from the point with 1:26 remaining.
Grahame began the second with the same good work, without which Tampa Bay might have found itself far behind. The Kings led 20-8 in shots midway through the period and ended it with a 25-13 advantage.
Palffy presented a challenge 2:30 in when he picked up the puck along the right wing boards in the neutral zone, swept into the high slot and fired. The shot was blocked, but Palffy whacked at the rebound and forced Grahame to make a stop.
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