By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published November 18, 2005
TAMPA - Don't expect John Tortorella to let up on his goaltenders any time soon.
The Lightning coach said Thursday that he doesn't blame John Grahame and Sean Burke for the team's slow start. At the same time, he called their play "very average."
"If the goalies like it or lump it, they are going to be held accountable just like everybody else in that locker room," Tortorella said. "All we are looking for is good, consistent goaltending. Not great, just good. I don't think we've gotten that yet."
Entering Thursday, the team's 2.72 goals-against average was 11th in the league and .890 save percentage tied for 19th.
"That position is one that plays with a team's mind-set, and it's a very dangerous thing," Tortorella said.
Asked to explain, he said, "You end up playing safe and end up trying to be perfect. Especially in the system we play, you can't play safe. We are not a good team playing safe.
"I know there will be off nights. I just want it to be good consistently, not great. Is that too much pressure to ask of a goalie? Well, if it is, then we got the wrong two guys here because there will be pressure put on that position."
Grahame said that's fine.
"Torts is going to speak his mind," he said. "He's going to let you know about it. "So any time you're letting in four goals a game, deflections, power play, bad goals or fluke plays or anything, there's always something you can do to try to be better and make the big save and help the team."
TAYLOR HURT: Center Tim Taylor left the game early in the third after the stick of New York defenseman Chris Campoli hit him in the nose. Taylor was hurt late in the second when he tried to check Campoli into the side boards. No penalty was called.
Taylor played two shifts in the third before calling it a night. He said his neck also was sore.
"My legs felt a little woozy," he said when asked about leaving the game. "I didn't feel quite proper. I should be all right."
ODDS AND ENDS: Wing Ruslan Fedotenko was hit from behind and into the boards in front of the Lightning bench in the second period by Shawn Bates. Fedotenko crumpled and was seen on the bench holding his left side, though he did not leave the game. ... Wing Vinny Prospal's assist gave him eight goals and 12 assists in a personal-best 12-game points streak, one off the team record of Brian Bradley and Marty St. Louis. ... Left wing Chris Dingman was scratched.