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Third period ruins Eklund's debut
By TOM JONES
Published November 9, 2005
MONTREAL - The Lightning's woes continued Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay blew a one-goal lead in the third period and fell to the Canadiens, 3-2, in front of a sold-out crowd of 21,273 at the Bell Centre.
Goalie Brian Eklund played well in his first NHL start, but not well enough as the Lightning lost its fourth in a row, its longest losing streak since dropping four consecutive games in December of 2003.
The Lightning led 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Tim Taylor, his first of the season only 3:01 into the game, and Vinny Prospal's ninth of the season in the second period.
But Montreal's Craig Rivet and Richard Zednik scored less than two minutes apart midway through the third to ruin Eklund's debut.
"I thought I played well, but it's all about winning and losing and we lost," Eklund said.
The Lightning outshot the Canadiens in every period and 34-19 for the game.
"But we still lost," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "We just got to keep on pushing."
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: If Eklund was nervous about his first NHL start, he didn't show it.
After Tuesday's morning skate, Eklund was almost giddy at the thought of starting. In Montreal, no less.
"It's an honor to make my debut in Montreal," Eklund said. "This is something I'm going to remember the rest of my life - good, bad, indifferent, win or loss, tie, shootout, it doesn't matter. I'm probably going to remember every minute of it and every breath I take. This is going to be awesome."
Most NHL goalie prefer not to talk to the media the day they start, but Eklund was all smiles and quotations as he was surrounded by cameras, microphones and notebooks.
"I'm not used to having cameras in my face," Eklund said. "I'm usually the kid in the other locker room getting dressed by myself just hoping to get to the ice on time."
MINOR MATTERS: General manager Jay Feaster will meet with Bruce Landon, president and general manager of the Lightning's minor-league affiliate in Springfield, around Dec. 7 to discuss extending the affiliation. The current agreement runs through next season.
Landon requested the meeting and hopes to extend the deal through the 2009-10 season.
Feaster said he is open to talking to Landon, but is concerned because the AHL might allow a team to play in Orlando. Last year, the Panthers discussed putting an AHL team in Orlando, which the Lightning considers part of its market. Feaster said he wants to talk with AHL officials about future plans before agreeing to a long-term deal with Springfield.
But Feaster also said he would love to see the Lightning continue its relationship with Springfield.
LOST IN TRANSLATION: According to a French reporter, the Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier told a French television station in an interview Monday that he would like to someday play for the Canadiens and that someday he would.
Lecavalier rolled his eyes when asked about the rumor and said that he told the station the same thing he always says: that it's the dream of every Montreal kid to play for the Canadiens and perhaps he will someday, but for now, he's happy to be with the Lightning.