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Lecavalier play simply fit for the Great One

By JOANNE KORTH
Published May 28, 2004

Main story
Photo gallery
Gary Shelton: What else did you expect?
John Romano: Fedotenko proves his value
Flames take out frustrations
Game 2: period by period
Goalie comparison
Hockey is the best medicine
Lecavalier goes in with a bang
Lecavalier play simply fit for the Great One
Meet the man who keeps them on edge
Richards' 2003 is now net gain
Simon fitting in with Flames
Slapshots
Soundbites
Lightning 4, Flames 1Series tied 1-1
(56k | High-Speed)

STANLEY CUP FINALS AT A GLANCE:
Click on each score for the main story from each game
Best-of-7
(Lightning wins series 4-3)
Tuesday [5/25]: Calgary 4, Tampa Bay 1
Thursday [5/27]: Tampa Bay 4, Calgary 1
Saturday [5/29]: Calgary 3, Tampa Bay 0
Monday [5/31]: Tampa Bay 1, Calgary 0

TAMPA - It began with a nifty bit of razzle-dazzle, the type of move that takes a few seconds to fully comprehend.

Did he just do that?

On purpose?

Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier, moving behind the Calgary goal, gave hard-charging Stephane Yelle the slip by playing the puck off the back of the goal to himself.

It was much too pretty to waste.

THE SITUATION: Coming off a Game 1 loss in which it did not play with intensity, the Lightning looked to start Game 2 with a sense of urgency.

The last thing it wanted was to leave the St. Pete Times Forum for Calgary trailing 0-2.

Aggressive in its first shift of the game, the Lightning set a physical tone, led by Lecavalier. But Lecavalier did more than throw his weight around.

In a move used by Wayne Gretzky - and precious few others - Lecavalier banked the puck off the back of the goal to avoid Yelle, the Flames' best checking center. Lecavalier pivoted 180 degrees and skated back around the way he came.

"I've done it before," Lecavalier said, "but we don't usually score."

THE PLAY: Lecavalier emerged to Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's left and turned at the circle to shoot. But Lecavalier lost the puck and passed back to defenseman Jassen Cullimore at the point. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay wing Ruslan Fedotenko did what he has done so many times with such success during the playoffs.

He went to the net.

Cullimore fired a shot from the point that Kiprusoff blocked. Fedotenko, parked in front of the net, corraled the rebound and shot, but again Kiprusoff made the save.

The third time was the charm.

"In the playoffs, there are not too many times you can get tic-tac-toe goals," Fedotenko said. "You go for greedy goals, dirty. Just go in front of the net, get hit, try to get the rebound, second effort - just whatever it takes to get the lead."

THE RESULT: Fedotenko tucked the second rebound under a sprawling Kiprusoff for his team-leading 10th goal of the playoffs and a 1-0 lead at 7:10 in the first.

A play that began with Lecavalier's finesse finished with Fedotenko's fortitude.

"The whole key to that goal is that it was the third shot," Lightning TV analyst Bobby Taylor said.

"Fedotenko is so strong on his skates, he can take a hit and have guys bounce off. He's so strong and his balance is so good. That's why you can't get him out of there. But it's also the willingness to stay in there. A lot of guys won't go in there to begin with."

THE RESULT: Though the game turned into a rout in the third - Tampa Bay scored three goals in the first six minutes for a 4-0 lead - the early goal by Fedotenko not only served as a reward for the Lightning's energetic start but gave the team confidence in a must-win situation.

Tampa Bay is 11-2 in the playoffs when scoring first.

Calgary, which surrendered a first-period goal for just the fifth time in 21 postseason games, is 2-7 when the opponent scores first.

"It's a tight-checking situation within the playoffs and that first goal just allows your team to gain some of the momentum," Lightning coach John Tortorella said.

"It's just a matter of trying to gain momentum."

[Last modified May 28, 2004, 01:23:54]

Today's lineup
Lightning

  • Reignited!
  • Flames take out frustrations
  • Game 2: period by period
  • Goalie comparison
  • Hockey is the best medicine
  • Lecavalier goes in with a bang
  • Lecavalier play simply fit for the Great One
  • Meet the man who keeps them on edge
  • Richards' 2003 is now net gain
  • Simon fitting in with Flames
  • Slapshots
  • Soundbites

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