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Holmqvist stands out despite overtime goal
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO AND EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published April 19, 2007
TAMPA - Lightning goaltender Johan Holmqvist couldn't come up with the words to describe his performance in the 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday.
Others found it easier.
"Tremendous," his teammate, Marty St. Louis, said.
"Outstanding," coach John Tortorella said.
"Awesome," the Devils' Scott Gomez said.
After Zach Parise's power-play goal 9:42 into the second put the Devils up 3-1, Holmqvist stopped 18 consecutive shots, including 14 in the third and overtime, until Gomez's winner.
"We threw everything except the kitchen sink at him," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said. "Holmqvist was the big difference to why that game went to overtime."
Holmqvist got better as the game went along, halting the Devils as they took over the pace of the game - especially in overtime - after he allowed three goals earlier.
"I don't really think about it," said Holmqvist, who finished with 33 saves. "I felt pretty good. I'm just trying to keep focused on what I have to do. When the game's going, you expect those ups and downs."
After yielding five goals in Game 1, Holmqvist allowed just two in Tampa Bay's wins in Games 2 and 3. Still, this might have been his best performance of the series.
"They're all the same," Holmqvist said. "It's the playoffs. The next game is all I'm thinking about right now."
DENIS WANING: The agent for Lightning goaltender Marc Denis said his client's confidence has been shaken by not dressing for the playoffs.
"Of course it does something," Bob Sauve said by phone.
Denis, signed in the summer to a three-year, $8.6-million contract to be the No. 1 goalie, has been a healthy scratch in all four playoff games after a frustrating regular season in which he was 17-18-2 with a 3.19 goals-against average and league-worst .883 save percentage.
Denis has declined comment since untested rookie Karri Ramo got the backup job behind Holmqvist. Sauve, a former NHL goaltender, agreed one player's situation should not be a distraction during the postseason.
He said he will speak to his client and the Lightning about Denis' future.
"Of course he's disappointed," Sauve said. "He's a player and wants to play. Not even to dress is very frustrating."
PENALTY DISPARITY: Penalties have become commonplace in this series, but the calls were uneven Wednesday. The Lightning was called for eight and the Devils just four.
NEW ARRIVAL: Devils defenseman Brad Lukowich and his wife, Cara, had their second child on Tuesday, a girl. Marley Grace, 6 pounds, 2 ounces, was born at 1:15 p.m. The former Lightning defenseman was in the lineup for Game 4.
ODDS AND ENDS: Lightning captain Tim Taylor, who has had two cortisone shots to keeping playing despite a degenerative hip, played 14:32, second most this season. He also had four shots, four hits and won 6 of 8 faceoffs. ... The Lightning registered 28 hits to the Devils' 18. ... Denis, forwards Blair Jones and Karl Stewart and defensemen Doug Janik and Matt Smaby were healthy scratches. ... Devils defenseman Colin White remained out with back spasms. ... Frank Anzalone, coach of the Lightning's ECHL team in Johnstown, might be fired, the (Johnstown, Pa.) Tribune-Democrat reported.