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Crushed

After a feisty start, Tampa Bay gives up 2 goals in the 2nd and now trails the series 2-1.

DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published May 30, 2004

CALGARY - The question was never asked, but Dan Boyle decided to answer it, nonetheless.

The Lightning defenseman said no one in the locker room is talking about throwing in the towel. The confidence is still there, as is the resolve.

"There is no quit in this team," Boyle said. "We're not going to give up by any means."

The sentiment might seem extreme considering Tampa Bay trails the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final just two games to one. But that is how hard the players took Saturday night's 3-0 loss to the Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Lightning failed to build on the momentum it created in its Game 2 victory. It let Calgary take away the initiative for a stretch in the second period that cost two goals, and it failed to capitalize on some significant chances.

Not that there were that many. Tampa Bay took just 11 shots in the first two periods, but Fredrik Modin and Brad Richards could not convert on prime opportunities that would have broken a 0-0 second-period tie.

"You can't expect to win with just 10 shots in two periods," Richards said.

Still, "We had chances," Boyle said. "I'm sure a few guys in this room will be kicking themselves. When you get chances, you have to bury them."

More trouble: the Lightning will hear more today about wing Ruslan Fedotenko. The team leader with 10 playoff goals was taken to the hospital after he was pushed into the top of the boards face-first by Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr with 5:47 left in the third period and sustained a deep cut and ugly bruise on his right cheek.

For the Flames and their red-clad fans in he sellout crowd of 19,221, things could not have been better.

Chris Simon and Shean Donovan scored in 3:16 of the second period to give Calgary a 2-0 lead with 2:51 left. And goalie Miikka Kiprusoff had 21 saves for his playoff-high fifth shutout.

Then there was Jarome Iginla. The captain scored the Flames' last goal late in the third period (the team's second on the power play), assisted on Simon's and fought Vinny Lecavalier in a battle that was the highlight of a hard-hitting first period in which both teams tried to establish their turf.

"The fight is just part of the intensity out there," Iginla said. "It is about everybody knows what is on the line. Both teams really raised their game physically last game and I thought we really upped it as a group. The fight just happened."

Neither player inflicted any damage. The Lightning failed to do so as well.

Modin had the puck alone in front of Kiprusoff but fired high and wide 3:30 into the second period. Richards thought he had the goalie beaten on a short-handed breakaway but the wrist shot hit the shaft of Kiprusoff's stick with 6:23 remaining.

Sixteen seconds later, Simon scored a power-play goal when his third shot beat goalie Nikolai Khabibulin after two were valiantly blocked by a sprawled Modin.

Donovan scored on a two-on-one after he picked off Lecavalier's pass from behind the Flames net that was intended for Modin but it went behind him and went to the Flames wing.

Lightning coach John Tortorella said he believed Simon's goal was the turning point. Defenseman Brad Lukowich created the short-handed situation by turning the puck over, then taking a slashing penalty. Defenseman Darryl Sydor fell at the Flames blue line and partner Pavel Kubina was out of position in a corner.

But Richards saw it differently.

"I had it in my head they were going to score," he said. "If I had scored on that, things might have been different."

Things might have been different had the Lightning converted one of its four power plays and not sagged after Simon's goal while the Flames surged.

"We let them take control of the game after the first goal," captain Dave Andreychuk said. "It's just a goal. It's one shot."

"We just need a better team effort," Boyle said. "Everybody is working hard."

No one, he reiterated, is giving up.

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