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A poke, a shot, a goal

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, TOM JONES and BRANT JAMES
Published May 9, 2004


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Center Eric Perrin dived for the puck as it skidded in the slot in the Lightning zone and poked it right to Chris Dingman. Whether it was luck or planned - Perrin swore that is what he tried to do - it started one of the biggest plays of the game, which ended with Dingman's goal and a 3-1 lead 7:04 into the third.

"He did a great job diving for the puck," Dingman said.

"I saw Chris all along," said Perrin, whose assist was his first NHL point. "It was great for the line. To be able to help the team like that, it's a big plus."

In a game in which Tampa Bay's top line of Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Ruslan Fedotenko combined for just two shots, the goal from the fourth line was huge.

"That's two goals scored by our fourth line here in the playoffs," coach John Tortorella said, referring to Andre Roy's goal in Game 1 of the East quarterfinals against the Islanders. "It was important. I mean, Eric, every time we put him on the ice, he's responsible defensively, and that's what allows you to keep putting him out there."

Dingman, who had just one goal in the regular season, gathered the puck for the rush up ice with Roy. The wing got the puck after Dingman banked it off the corner boards in the Flyers zone with the intent of angling it to Roy.

"When you hit it off that part, usually it comes right back in front," Dingman said.

Roy crashed the net and blasted a slap shot.

"I tried to put everything into it," Roy said.

Flyers goalie Robert Eschemade the save, but the rebound went to Dingman, who had a big target at which to shoot.

"Even I can bury them in an empty net," Dingman said.

St. Louis decks Primeau

It was not an extraordinary play, but considering the participants, it was notable. Flyers captain Keith Primeau dug with his stick at Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who was trying to cover a puck with 3:26 left in the second period. But the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Primeau was taken down by the 5-8, 185-pound St. Louis.

"He's pretty big," St. Louis said. "It's a lot easier when he's on his knees. He's just poking at Habby after the whistle. You've got to do what you've got to do."

Primeau got to his feet and scuffled with St. Louis, who got a little help from teammates Lecavalier and Nolan Pratt.

Extra bricks for Bulin Wall

As predicted, the Flyers got traffic in front of Khabibulin. But Tampa Bay, especially its defense, did such a good job blocking pucks and clogging the slot, it mitigated most of the pressure.

"The less he's got to stop, the less he has to do," defenseman Brad Lukowich said. "It's something the defense has taken upon itself, but we have to get better."

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said he wasn't surprised.

"They have a goals-against average under one. That's pretty impressive," he said. "Obviously, they know how to play defense."

But Flyers center Jeremy Roenick said Tampa Bay had help.

"I think it was more of us not being very smart with the puck and moving it in the right places," he said. "Second period, we had some chances where we did find some cracks. So it's going to get better."

Unhappy with the officials

Primeau does not believe his strong move into Khabibulin in the first period warranted an interference penalty that negated a Sami Kapanen rebound goal and 1-0 lead.

Primeau gathered an attempted chip-out, skated in unopposed on Khabibulin, faked once then ran out of room and tried to push the puck between Khabibulin's skates. Khabibulin made the save as Primeau slid into him but was unable to react to the rebound.

"If you're calling incidental contact, I guess it's no goal," said Primeau, who leads the Flyers with five playoff goals. "But what disturbed me is he told the ref I had given an extra shot. I'm going to the net. I'm trying to make a play. And I fall, and we score on a rebound. That's not giving the goalie an extra shot when we have a scoring chance."

Mr. D in the house

Lightning owner Bill Davidson attended the game, and for what might have been the first time since he bought the team in June 1999, he stayed until the final buzzer.

He declined to speak to the Tampa media but did a quick interview with ABC in which he talked about having two teams - he also owns the NBA's Pistons - in championship hunts.

"Right now, it's a little hectic," he said. "But we're certainly enjoying a great run."

Quick on the draws

Brad Richards won 10 of 13 faceoffs (76 percent). Center Tim Taylor won 7 of 10 (70 percent). The Lightning won 56 percent overall.

[Last modified May 9, 2004, 01:41:11]

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