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Turning points

5 moments that shaped the season:

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 10, 2003


SOMETIME LAST SUMMER: Under order from general manager Jay Feaster, Vinny Lecavalier and coach John Tortorella bury the hatchet as the coach says he will use his star center in all game situations. Lecavalier responds by showing up for camp in the best shape of his career.

OCT. 10: Vinny Prospal's goal gives the Lightning a 4-3 overtime victory over the host Panthers on opening night. Can anyone say confidence?

JAN. 13: Feaster steals goalie John Grahame from the Bruins for a fourth-round draft pick. Grahame took some pressure off Nikolai Khabibulin and held the fort until Khabibulin regained his form.

FEB. 14: Center Tim Taylor lashes the team in the locker room after an embarrassing first period against the host Thrashers. Tampa Bay roars back for a 2-2 tie and starts a 12-game unbeaten streak (6-0-6) that helps it earn its first playoff berth since 1996.

MARCH 7: Down 3-0 after the first period, the Lightning thrill a sellout crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum by earning a 4-3 victory against the Avalanche, a team that had not lost a third-period lead all season.

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