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Power play still coming up short
Panthers 3, Lightning 2: Tampa Bay whiffs seven times with a man advantage and drops its third in a row.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published October 14, 2006
SUNRISE - There will be a team meeting in the Lightning locker room before tonight's game with the Panthers.
Nothing dramatic, captain Tim Taylor said, just a reminder to the players not take themselves out of their games.
Tampa Bay probably needs that reminder after Friday's 3-2 loss to Florida at the BankAtlantic Center punctuated by another dreadful performance by the power play.
"I just don't want them to get frustrated and do things uncharacteristic," Taylor said. "If we make simple and hard plays, things will open up for us."
So far, they have been shut down tight.
The Lightning went 0-for-7 with the man advantage during its third straight loss. It is 1-for-26 in four games and hasn't scored in 22 straight chances.
"It's frustrating," right wing Marty St. Louis said. "You just keep searching for answers, keep your head up and keep working."
And take a lesson from the Panthers, who scored on the power play for the third straight game.
It's not as if Florida, at 1-for-5, looked that good with the man advantage, either. But it converted when it counted as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester tallied nine minutes into the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and give the Panthers their fifth straight win over Tampa Bay at home.
Lightning goaltender Johan Holmqvist took the loss hard as seven seconds earlier he was called for playing the puck in the restricted area.
"A bad play," he said. "It cost us the game."
Not true. In fact, Holmqvist, making his Tampa Bay debut, was solid and made 24 saves, including big ones in the third period to preserve the tie while the Lightning was on the power play.
Some other blips of good news:
Tampa Bay got its first lead of the season 1:18 into the game when Vinny Lecavalier scored his first goal and the team's first in the first period. Ryan Craig scored his fourth goal, from his stomach after being mugged by Florida defenseman Branislav Mezei, to tie the score midway through the second.
But Craig failed to convert point-blank late in the third as goalie Alex Auld made a right-leg save. St. Louis was stopped in front as well after Auld came up big on Dan Boyle.
"It was a hard-fought battle," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "We had some strong goaltending, but it was a matter of inches."
Craig said it is a matter of determination: "I've got to score that goal. If we do, we get that point (for a tie). You get a chance you have to score."
This is how bad it got for Tampa Bay:
The team had three power-play chances in the third period, including one with 1:59 remaining when Todd Bertuzzi went off for holding.
Craig was stopped with 1:02 left and Boyle wiped out the advantage with 41.7 seconds left when called for hooking.
"It hurts us," coach John Tortorella said of the inept power play.
And it has Taylor determined to keep his teammates focused, the subject of today's meeting.
"We have to bear down and get angry," he said. "Not angry frustrated but angry that we're going to get the job done. I feel bad. We have a lot of real good character people. They care about winning. When they lose they take it to heart."
The power play could use a bit of that as well.
Tampa Bay 1 1 0 - 2
Florida 2 0 1 - 3
First Period-1, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 1 (Fedotenko), 1:18. 2, Florida, Kolnik 2 (Gelinas, Van Ryn), 14:34. 3, Florida, Horton 2 (Jokinen, Roberts), 19:11. Penalties-Janik, TB (hooking), 3:41; Gratton, Fla (high-sticking), 5:59; Salei, Fla (hooking), 9:07; Fedotenko, TB (hooking), 19:38.
Second Period-4, Tampa Bay, Craig 4 (Alexeev, Prospal), 9:19. Penalties-Craig, TB (holding), 2:51; Gelinas, Fla (interference), 11:44; Perrin, TB (holding stick), 14:06; Jokinen, Fla (interference), 16:33.
Third Period-5, Florida, Bouwmeester 1 (Salei, Jokinen), 9:00 (pp). Penalties-Bertuzzi, Fla (holding stick), 1:57; Gelinas, Fla (holding), 6:18; Holmqvist, TB, served by Prospal (delay of game), 8:53; Bertuzzi, Fla (holding), 18:01; Boyle, TB (hooking), 19:18.
Shots on goal-Tampa Bay 6-6-11-23. Florida 8-10-9-27. Power-play Opportunities-Tampa Bay 0 of 7; Florida 1 of 5. Goalies-Tampa Bay, Holmqvist 0-1-0 (27 shots-24 saves). Florida, Auld 3-0-1 (23-21). A-15,208 (19,250).