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Andreychuk involved in power struggle

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published February 20, 2004

ST. LOUIS - Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk said he wasn't surprised Detroit's Brett Hull tied his NHL-best 263 power-play goals.

"If there was somebody in the league who was going to catch me, that's the guy," Andreychuk said Thursday. "You don't have (737) goals by accident."

Andreychuk also said he doesn't think about losing the record. More important, he said, is simply chipping in on the power play, something he hasn't done since Jan. 15 against the Hurricanes.

"I would like to get more deflections and more rebounds, but the combinations we have now, the way it's working, it's okay," he said.

"I didn't start the year by saying, "Oh, geez, I have to stay in front of him.' I'm saying I'm trying to help us win by getting some power-play goals."

Andreychuk began the season with 260 such goals.

Hull had 255.

"We had fun with it when it happened," Andreychuk said of breaking Phil Esposito's record of 249 on Nov. 15, 2002, against the Sharks. "But records are made to be broken. He is a good guy to do it."

NARROW MINDED: Tampa Bay's Nikolai Khabibulin doesn't think much of the proposal to reduce the width of goalie leg pads from 12 to 10 inches.

"Obviously they're trying to create more scoring," he said. "Why don't you give a goaltender a two-minute penalty for a butterfly save?"

Sarcasm noted. But Khabibulin had a larger concern: injuries.

"It seems like 10 years ago we had only five guys on a team who shot the puck hard,"he said. "Now it's like five guys that can't."

Khabibulin said larger equipment is not the reason goal scoring is down.

"Goaltending right now is a lot better than in years past," he said. "Half the goals that were scored in the '80s wouldn't even be scoring chances right now because the goalies are so much better and more knowledgeable about the game."

QUICK FEET: Blues coach Joel Quenneville said the Lightning's fastbreak offense is a breath of fresh air in a league lacking scoring.

"Whether it's the way they create it or the skills around it, people like to see offense," said the coach whose team has 28 goals in its past 16 games. "I'd like to see more of it our way."

Still, when asked if he anticipates teams copying Tampa Bay's system, he balked.

"In our league you need that foundation of how good you play defense," Quenneville said. "The bottom line is to have the basics of how you check."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Blues have nine players less than 6 feet. ... Defensemen Nolan Pratt and Darren Rumble and left wing Andre Roy were scratched.

[Last modified February 20, 2004, 01:31:57]

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