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Penalties help cost Lightning

Three of Washington's first four goals come on the power play, including one that leads to Andre Roy's banishment.

By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003


TAMPA -- The whistle was blown. The play was over. There was no need to pop somebody.

But Tampa Bay's Andre Roy did.

A Washington player was checked over the boards. He was out of the play. No need to give him an extra shot.

But Tampa Bay's Dan Boyle did.

On and on it went. One shove too many here, one push too many there.

There's a fine line in hockey between intensity and a lack of discipline. In Saturday's 6-3 Game 2 loss to Washington, the Lightning not only crossed that line, but turned around, doused it with gasoline and lit it on fire.

"Our discipline hurt us a little bit," Lightning coach John Tortorella said.

That's like saying the iceberg hurt the Titanic a little bit. The Lightning melted down in the first period, and when the penalty killers couldn't do their job, the result was three Washington power-play goals that pretty much iced the game.

"That stuff cost us," Boyle said.

The first might have been the worst. Roy, one of the Lightning's enforcers, flattened Washington's Jeff Halpern well after the whistle, drawing a two-minute roughing penalty and, worse, the ire of Tortorella.

When Roy skated to the bench from the penalty box after Peter Bondra's man-advantage goal gave the Caps a 2-0 lead, he was met by an irate Tortorella, who laid into Roy with what one can only guess was not a Disney-inspired tongue-lashing.

It would get worse for Roy. In a move rarely, if ever, seen, he was kicked off theLightning bench and did not return for the second and third periods.

As he left the St. Pete Times Forum after the game, Roy declined to talk about his dismissal, saying the time wasn't right to comment. Tortorella was abrupt, too, saying only, "That stuff I'd prefer to keep in the room."

Apparently, though, Tortorella tried to send a message about his team's lack of discipline.

"You can talk about discipline and how important it is in the playoffs. And it has been a major subject of ours, from our preparation right on through, even in between periods," Tortorella said.

"You can talk about it and talk about it, but to get the experience, you have to live through it."

The Lightning died because of it Saturday.

"Our intensity is where it had to be," Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk said. "We just have to channel it in the right way."

That's not always easy. Down a game already in the series, looking to make a statement and set a tone and playing before more than 20,000 screaming fans, the Lightning simply forgot to let go of its dynamite stick after it lit the fuse.

"We struggled a bit in just trying to keep our composure," Tortorella said. "That put us in a little bit of a jam."

Even after the game, Tortorella seemed to struggle with praising his team for its intensity yet scolding it for twisting the wrench a little too far.

After all, it is a fine line and, perhaps on some nights in the playoffs, that line could be anywhere depending on the referees' discretion. Tortorella, though, said his team was responsible for its undoing.

"I am not blaming the referees," Tortorella said. "It's not the refs. We make our own bed with this.

"And we'll learn. I hope we learn quick. I hope we have that same type of emotion (in Game 3), but hopefully, we can simmer it down when we need to."

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