They shoot ... they lose
The Lightning comes up short despite a 50-20 advantage in shots.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published November 29, 2006
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Lightning at Bruins
7 Thursday, TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Sun Sports
TAMPA - Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said he could not recall with whom he had the conversation, but given what Olaf Kolzig accomplished, recounting it seemed apropos.
Hanlon said he was asked who he believes is the NHL's best clutch goaltender.
"I'm saying it's Kolzig," he said. "There are so many nights where he doesn't get the recognition. Most of the time you give Olie a decent chance to win a hockey game and he brings it home for you."
He brought home a gift Tuesday night with a stirring 48-save effort in a 5-2 victory over the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Kolzig didn't defend the goal, he put up a brick wall, filled the gaps with mortar and dropped a steel curtain to snap Washington's six-game losing streak and the Lightning's three-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay (13-11-1) peppered Kolzig with 50 shots, equaling the team's home record and falling one short of its overall mark. It took 25 shots in the third period to set a home mark and tie a team record.
Twenty-four shots came in seven failed power plays, including a 49-second five-on-three in a third period that saw goals by Vinny Lecavalier, his 11th, and Nick Tarnasky, his NHL first, cut a 4-0 lead.
"Kolzig was the difference," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "He was outstanding. One of the best performances I've seen from a goaltender."
While Johan Holmqvist probably played his worst.
The Tampa Bay goalie, who had won eight of nine games this month, allowed three goals on 13 shots and was pulled with 3:31 left in Washington's three-goal second period that produced a 4-0 lead.
Holmqvist did not face a shot until 9:12 remained in the first period and let up a softy to Kris Beech on Washington's second with 5:48 left. It was the Capitals' first even-strength goal in 169 minutes, 9 seconds.
Holmqvist should not take all the blame. Left wing Vinny Prospal was a brutal minus-4 and Marty St. Louis' giveaway led to Boyd Gordon's back-breaking, shorthanded, breakaway goal that made the score 2-0 1:53 into the second period.
Still, Holmqvist said, "It was pretty tough. It definitely wasn't one of my best games, for sure."
"I find it really tough to deal with what Holmqvist had to deal with today, where you're not getting any shots at all and all of a sudden there's a chance," Kolzig said. "Any goalie will tell you that is a very tough way to play goal. You want to get some shots, get into a groove.
But even Kolzing admitted, "Fifty is a little extreme."
Kolzig, 36, seems at his best when tested often. The 6-foot-3, 221-pounder is 4-0-1 this season when facing 40 shots and at least 20 in the third period.
"You get into a game early and get into a rhythm and the puck looks big," said Kolzig, 21-10-1 against the Lightning.
"He's a great goalie," Hanlon said. "I don't have to read anything in the paper about Olie Kolzig. Every day, I sing his praises."