By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, TOM JONES
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 15, 2003
He did it again. Lightning coach John Tortorella Monday mentioned the Capitals' shaky history of being able to close out a series after taking an early lead. Three times, the Caps have been up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, and twice they've lost.
So what, Washington coach Bruce Cassidy said.
"I know a lot about the history, but I wasn't here to live it," said Cassidy, in his first season. "So for me, I don't even go there."
Several of the players, though, did live it, and they did go there. Olaf Kolzig was in goal for both series' losses, though he quickly pointed out that the losses were to Pittsburgh and star Jaromir Jagr.
"We have (Jagr now)," Kolzig said. "I think whether you've blown leads in the past or whether you've never lost a playoff series in the past, when you've had a 2-0 lead you can't get too high on yourself and you can never look too far forward. You've got to play the moment."
If the Caps do take any history classes in the next few days, it will be to recall the good moments in playoff history. "We were down 3-1 to Boston in 1998 and we came back and won that series, and went on to the Cup finals," Kolzig said. "So I think we got that monkey off our back then."
While the Lightning searches for clues on how to get back into the series, Washington's biggest challenge is to keep from getting carried away with its commanding lead.
"You can't think that all we have to do is just show up and things are going to go our way," Cassidy said. "That's not necessarily the case. Everyone recognizes you have to win four."
But the Caps are carrying a bit of strut these days.
"Why wouldn't they be? We're up two-nothing," Cassidy said. "You have to be confident in yourself and your ability to win. ... To have a bit of swagger was always a good thing, especially in the playoffs. Just don't let that swagger affect your work ethic or your attitude toward your opposition."
Roy in, out of mind
Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk said there is no need for him to address the team about the absence of Andre Roy, who was left behind in Tampa for Games 3 and 4. The left wing was benched, then banished to the locker room during the first period of Game 2 after he took a foolish penalty that resulted in a Capitals goal and a tongue-lashing from Tortorella.
Roy is scheduled to rejoin the team for Game 5, which, if necessary, will be played Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.
"I don't think anything else needs to be said," Andreychuk said. "I understand the situation so I'm sure everybody else does."
"It's a loss to our team," defenseman Cory Sarich said. "He's a guy who usually keeps the room pretty loose. But it's out of the players' hands. It's a decision within the team. There may be thoughts of Andre in our minds, but right now we've got a bigger task ahead of us, and that's what is consuming everybody's thoughts right now."
Andreychuk said he feels for Roy, whose temper outbursts since he was acquired in March 2001 from the Senators have resulted in league suspensions of 16 games, fines of $100,000 and warnings from Tortorella to keep his emotions under control or forfeit playing time. Roy's Game 2 penalty was a roughing call after a whistle was blown.
Asked what message it sends that a player was, basically, removed from the team, Andreychuk did not hesitate: "It certainly sends a message ... that we have to stay disciplined."
Ruslan Fedotenko was moved off Lecavalier's line and put with center Alexander Svitov and right wing Nikita Alexeev
Andreychuk played with Richards and Modin. And Tim Taylor centered for wings Chris Dingman and Ben Clymer, though Jimmie Olvestad also saw time with that line.
Tickets for Game 5, which, if necessary, will be played Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum, can be purchased through midnight by calling the Lightning box office at (813) 301-6600.
"Nik needs to look straight down the ice and that's the guy he needs to beat. That's how you crawl back in this series. That's the key." -- Tortorella on Khabibulin matching up with Kolzig.
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