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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Down, almost out
"We absolutely feel the world is crumbling in on us." - center Tim Taylor
By TOM JONES
Published April 28, 2006
[Times photos: Dirk Shadd]
Defensemen Paul Ranger, below, and Dan Boyle look back at John Grahame and the puck after Martin Havlat makes it 4-2 with 2:10 left in the second.
Senators goalie Ray Emery and defenseman Zdeno Chara keep an eye on the puck in the second. Emery stopped 30 shots, 23 during the first two periods.
Lightning coach John Tortorella yells during the second. After the game, Tortorella criticized goalie John Grahame.
Martin St. Louis and Tampa Bay must win three in a row against a foe they have only beaten four times in 24 meetings.
TAMPA - The bench told the story.
Lightning players leaned on the boards and stared straight ahead. John Grahame, the goalie who started the game, sat alone on a stool off in the corner. Coach John Tortorella, usually a bundle of nerves, energy and motion, sloped silently against the back glass with his arms folded.
This was the third period. Time still remained in the game. But they knew time was running out on the season. The scoreboard overhead offered little promise, and neither does the 2005-06 Lightning postseason if it cannot come up with a solution in the next 36 hours.
Maybe that is what was going through their minds as the clock ticked away in Ottawa's 5-2 victory Thursday night in Game 4 of the opening round of the playoffs at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The victory gives the Senators a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 5 set for Saturday in Ottawa. In the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs, 205 teams have fallen behind 3-1 in a series. Only 20 have come back to win.
"We're not feeling the best right now," Lightning center Tim Taylor said. "The highs and lows of playoff hockey are incredible. One day, you're on top of the world, and now we absolutely feel the world is crumbling in on us.
"But that being said, the fourth game is really hard to win, and they're going to have to play an excellent game to try to beat us because we're going to come out with nothing to lose. And who knows?"
Right now, the Senators look like a team that knows everything. The Lightning played, perhaps, its best game of the series and certainly its best first period. And it didn't matter.
"Did we do everything to win this game in the first five minutes? Absolutely," Taylor said. "The first 20 minutes, we played awesome, and it's a 2-1 hockey game."
It was 2-1 in favor of the Lightning. Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards scored goals after Jason Spezza had given the Senators an early 1-0 lead.
"I thought we came at them hard and did some good stuff and had momentum on our side," forward Fredrik Modin said. "Then they just took it back."
The beginning of the end started early in the second, when Chris Phillips scored on a long wrist shot that Grahame likely would want to play again. The Senators then attacked for three goals during a 4:14 span late in the second period and early in the third.
"I thought we were playing very well and then three goals on four shots," Tortorella said. "That really deflates a hockey team there."
Tortorella did not hold back on blaming Grahame, who was yanked for Sean Burke after allowing four goals on 17 shots in two periods.
"A save would be nice," Tortorella said. "They're a good hockey team. They've got quality players. It's just deflating to see 17 shots and four goals in the net, eh? Let's call a spade a spade. That's a tough thing."
More Tortorella: "Again, we need an occasional save. Listen, Johnny is trying like hell, but four goals on 17 shots? I'm a little tired of the 25 percent rule."
Now the Lightning needs the 100 percent rule to save the season. It must win three in a row against a team that seems to pull out its A game and blow the Lightning away whenever it needs to.
"We're in a tough spot here," Tortorella said. "I'm not going to (kid) you, down 3-1 to that hockey team. Obviously, we wanted to try to even it up here. But, you know, I'm not down on the team. We'll go up there, and we've got nothing to lose. We'll play and see where we go from there."
But how can the Lightning move forward when it has played well in three of the four games yet lost three of the four.
"Deflating is not an option," Modin said. "We have to go out and win a game. Any loss is a tough loss no matter if you're playing well or playing bad.
"We can't mope around because we lost. It's not an option. We have to prepare as well as we can. It's a must-win game."
Must win? Yes. Can win? That has proved difficult.
First period - 1, Ottawa, Spezza 2 (Heatley), 6:13. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 4 (Ranger, Richards), 11:10. 3, Tampa Bay, Richards 2 (Lecavalier, Ranger), 16:15. Penalties - Meszaros, Ott (hooking), 2:30; Eaves, Ott (roughing), 13:47; Kubina, TB (high-sticking), 18:58.
Third period - 7, Ottawa, Neil 1 (Heatley), 1:24. Penalties - Spezza, Ott (holding), 4:51; Fedotenko, TB (roughing), 16:12; Chara, Ott (elbowing), 16:12; Fedotenko, TB (hooking), 19:01.
Shots on goal - Ottawa 7-10-8-25. Tampa Bay 13-12-7-32. Power-play opportunities-Ottawa 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 0 of 4. Goalies - Ottawa, Emery 3-1 (32 shots-30 saves). Tampa Bay, Grahame 1-3 (17-13), Burke (0:00 third, 8-7). Attendance - 20,682 (19,758). T-2:31. Referees -Bill McCreary, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen - Brad Kovachik, Tim Nowak.