Goalie seizes spotlight, snags Lecavalier's blast

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA, Times Staff Writer
Published January 11, 2008

TAMPA - In Thursday's game between hockey's two brightest stars, it was a goaltender who was in the minors six weeks ago who made the play of the game.

It wasn't Sidney Crosby but goaltender Ty Conklin who anchored the Penguins' eighth straight win, a 4-1 victory, robbing Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier in a scoreless game.

"When your goalie makes a big save like that it just gives your whole bench a lift," said Penguins defenseman Darryl Sydor, a former Lightning player. "Vinny puts that in most of the time and for him to get there and get that save was huge."

With 7:35 remaining in the first, Lecavalier had an open right side of the net from the bottom of the circle, but Conklin made a sprawling save across the crease, reaching out to snag Lecavalier's low shot for one of his 35 saves.

"I just dove over and it hit my glove," Conklin said. "You just kind of dive and get lucky."

Lecavalier wished he had another shot at it: "He made a real nice save. I guess it's my fault. I should have gone higher."

The Lightning still scored first, but the save set the stage for a superb night for Conklin, who is 9-0 with a .945 save percentage since being called up Dec. 6 from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"I thought the first half of that game we carried the play and they got that big chance and it might have deflated us a bit," Crosby said. "But Ty's been doing that consistently since he's been playing."