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Lightning power play suffers power outage

Calgary scores the winner short-handed by taking advantage of a mistake.

By JOANNE KORTH
Published May 26, 2004

TAMPA - The Lightning power play was on the ice late in the second period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, looking for a chance to tie Calgary. There was a buzz in the St. Pete Times Forum as the Lightning set up with the man advantage.

Then, a collective gasp.

In a single play, from one end of the ice to the other, the Flames grabbed momentum.

The situation

The Lightning power play sizzled against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference final, going 9-for-26. Much of the analysis before the final compared the Tampa Bay power play to Calgary's penalty killers, with most giving the Lightning the edge.

Trailing 1-0 with about five minutes left in the second period, the opposite was true. Tampa Bay's power play was 0-for-2 and had yet to register a shot on goal. But when the Flames' Andrew Ference was called for hooking Martin St. Louis to the ice at 14:48, the Lightning sensed a golden opportunity.

The play

From behind Calgary's net, Dave Andreychuk fed a perfect pass to Fredrik Modin in the high slot, but the puck skipped over Modin's stick. Flames sniper Jarome Iginla was behind Modin near the blue line, out of position for the penalty kill, but not for a breakaway.

Iginla dashed the length of the ice with Modin chasing. Iginla fired high on NikolaiKhabibulin, who made a dazzling glove save. But Modin, rather than stop in front of the net to check Iginla or clear the rebound, continued skating around the net to Khabibulin's left. According to Lightning TV analyst Bobby Taylor, that was a key mistake.

"He should have stopped in front of the net," Taylor said. "He's got to make sure that nobody gets the puck. He went for the big skate-around behind. You've got to stop."

The result

After the initial shot, Iginla stopped short to Khabibulin's right, where the puck landed . UnopposedIginla had a free shot with Khabibulin prone and put in the rebound in the open side for a 2-0 lead with 4:49 left.

It was Iginla's league-leading 11th playoff goal.

"I was trying to go top corner and Khabibulin made a great glove save," Iginla said. "I could see it going up in the air and I stopped to watch it. I thought it might go in. But I was thrilled when I saw I was going to get another chance. You usually don't get two chances."

The effect

Few things are as demoralizing in hockey as giving up a shorthanded goal. The Lightning power play, so effective in the previous series, was off to a shaky start, outshot 4-0 and outscored 1-0 by the Calgary penalty killers through 4:33 of ice time.

"They have a great power play, and every time they're on it, we know how much we have to bear down and the chances they're going to get," Iginla said. "Everybody feels good seeing a shorthanded goal go in."

Not for the Lightning.

"You give up a chance and it ends up in the back of your net," Andreychuk said. "It's tough to bounce back from."

Less than three minutes later, the Flames' relentless forechecking forced a turnover behind the Lightning net and led to a 3-0 lead as Stephane Yelle circled around to beat Khabibulin with a high shot that bounced in off the crossbar.

[Last modified May 26, 2004, 01:08:15]

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