By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
Published May 9, 2004
1st: Lightning escapes with tie
Okay, so where's the love from the team residing in the City of Brotherly Love?
Apparently, Tampa Bay's 4-0 sweep in the regular season did not sit well with the Flyers, who set the tone with solid checking and a 9-5 shot advantage.
Tampa Bay withstood Philadelphia's initial challenge with the help of the officials. The Flyers appeared to take a 1-0 lead about six minutes in, but the goal was waved off.
THE POSITIVE: Although the Lightning failed to score on its lone power play and Philadelphia outshot it 9-5, the home team came out of the period unscathed.
THE NEGATIVE: Where's the offense? Tampa Bay outscored Philadelphia 18-8 in the regular season, but judging by the Flyers' aggressiveness early, that is not about to happen in this series.
KEY PLAY: After the puck skipped over the stick of Cory Sarich at center ice, Keith Primeau and Sami Kapanen broke in on a two-on-none. Nikolai Khabibulin stuffed Primeau, who fell and pushed the Lightning goaltender into the net before Kapanen tapped in a loose puck in the crease at 6:02. The goal did not count, however, and Primeau went to the penalty box for goaltender interference.
KEY PLAYER: Here's a surprise. How about the goalie with the best numbers in the playoffs? Khabibulin's glove was quick, especially on Vladimir Malakhov's shot from the point on one power play and Kapanen's slap shot from the right faceoff circle.
2nd: More pressure, more goals
Tampa Bay's offense found some life, thanks to better forechecking, which that led to more scoring chances. It The Lightning took a 2-1 lead on goals by Dave Andreychuk and Brad Richards, each of whom extended their points streaks to four games.
Andreychuk, a could not have chosen a better time for his first playoff goal this season. The 22-year veteran, scored his 43rd playoff goal after taking a feed from Fredrik Modin in the slot and beating Flyers goalie Robert Esche from in close high on the short side.
An opportunistic redirection for Philadelphia led to the tying goal. With the Flyers on a power play, Danny Markov's shot from the point deflected off of Michal cq A.G. Handzus' skate. Nikolai Khabibulin stopped the first backhander by from Handzus, but not the second. Richards' backhander restored the Lightning lead.
THE POSITIVE: The Lightning sent notice it that the period would not be a repeat of the first by scoring first then keeping up the pressure three seconds after a power play expired. And Tampa Bay kept at it to restore its lead.
THE NEGATIVE: Khabibulin is the first goalie since Ottawa's Patrick Lalime in 2002 1995 to post four shutouts in two playoff rounds. A (shot at his) fifth playoff shutout, and which would have been his sixth of his career, overall, ended with was negated by Handzus' goal.
KEY PLAY: The Flyers' A slashing call on Marcus Ragnarsson was called for slashing with 1:02 left. in the period. Martin St. Louis, who led the league NHL with nine short-handed goals in the regular season, broke in on Esche with Andreychuk in the penalty box. St. Louis deked and missed just wide near the left post, his shot affected by Marcus Ragnarsson's slash. Ragnarsson was called for the penalty, ending the Flyers' power play with 1:04 left.
KEY PLAYER: Andreychuk, the league's all-time leader in power-play goals (270), just missed another one. He scored three seconds after a Tampa Bay penalty expired, his goal at 2:03 putting the Lightning on the board first.
3rd: Unexpected sources seal it
Even one of the Lightning's enforcers got into the scoring act. Tampa Bay extended its record playoff win streak to eight, including four in a row at home, thanks, in part, to the fourth line.
Chris Dingman, who has a ring from the 2000-01 Avalanche, scored only his second career playoff goal. (His first came last season in Game 2 against the Devils.) Fellow fourth-liners Andre Roy and Eric Perrin picked up the assists. Defensively, the Lightning backliners did a stellar job keeping the middle clear and the Flyers shooting mostly from the sides, which allowed Nikolai Khabibulin to cut down on the angles.
THE POSITIVE: Tampa Bay showed it has plenty of balance. The fourth line, which played only about five minutes for the entire game, gave the Lightning a two-goal cushion.
THE NEGATIVE: Neither Martin St. Louis nor Vinny Lecavalier could muster a point. Philadelphia's checkers bottled up that line, which includes former Flyer Ruslan Fedotenko, holding it to a combined two shots on goal.
KEY PLAY: Immediately after Cory Stillman went off for tripping with 2:02 left, Philadelphia called a timeout. It then pulled goaltender Robert Esche for an extra attacker with 1:42 left. That gave the Flyers a six-on-four for almost the rest of the game. But they did not get a shot on goal.
KEY PLAYER: Dingman set up his goal with a hard dump-in that caromed off the boards and to Roy, who rushed to the left faceoff circle and blasted a shot. Esche made the save. But the puck squirted out to his left, and Dingman swatted it in.
[Last modified May 9, 2004, 01:41:11]
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