St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Lightning's streak finally a winner

Tampa Bay captures back-to-back games for the first time since December, stopping the Sabres 4-2.

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 2, 2001


TAMPA -- Mike Johnson was winded.

Awarded a penalty shot for being pulled down on a breakaway in the second period against Buffalo on Thursday, the Lightning right wing gathered himself at center ice before skating off to try to break a tie score.

"I got out there, and it was all so surreal," Johnson said. "It was so quiet."

The penalty shot, on which Johnson was stopped, was one of several surreal moments for the Lightning.

The team that lost a league-worst 10 straight and traded center Wayne Primeau to Pittsburgh hours before beat Buffalo 4-2 before an announced 12,610 at the Ice Palace.

Tampa Bay has its first winning streak since December.

"We're working that much harder, we're that much more focused, and we're that much more intense," goaltender Kevin Weekes said. "When we make a commitment to doing the things it takes to win, more often than not we'll have the result we're looking for. We feel there's more positive energy throughout the team."

Rookie defenseman Kristian Kudroc scored the winner, his first career goal, with 3:40 left in the second period. Johnson made up for his missed penalty shot by capping the victory with a third-period goal, his first in 24 games.

Rookie center Brad Richards added two points, pushing his total to five in the past two games, and Weekes stopped 23 shots.

"The thing I like in our last two games is our grittiness," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "Pushing back, winning the little battles ... you just hope that they think or they realize if they do that, they've got a good chance of winning. And then it all falls into place."

After a first-period goal by Richards and second-period goal by right wing Martin St. Louis made it 2-0, Buffalo scored twice in 54 seconds to tie. Center Doug Gilmour netted the latter with 11:55 left in the second.

Lightning has folded in similar situations. Why hasn't it done so in the past two victories?

"It may be one or two little things that nobody will ever notice unless you look at a video, but that could be the whole difference," Richards said. "Nobody is different here. We're still the same people."

Johnson took his penalty shot with 8:19 left in the second. He went straight at Martin Biron and wristed a shot toward Biron's right shoulder.

The puck nicked his arm.

"Another few inches higher, I might have got it over his shoulder," Johnson said. "He went down and took the bottom away. I tried to get it upstairs and just didn't get it up enough."

Less than five minutes later, Kudroc broke the tie.

Richards passed to Kudroc, who one-timed a shot from the left circle.

The shot would have gone well to the right of the net had Biron not stuck his glove out and deflected it into the net.

"It was great," Kudroc said. "It was very important for the game. I didn't try to score. I just tried to hit the net."

Johnson got his first goal since Nov. 24 on a feed from left wing Todd Warriner with 4:15 remaining.

It was his 10th goal of the season and third point in two games.

"I knew (Warriner) was going to pass it to me," Johnson said. "There was no way he was going to shoot that one. I was definitely ready for the pass. You know what? He almost saved it, too. He got a piece of it. Thank God it dribbled in."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Hubert Mizell
  • Bulls build solid senior foundation

  • Lightning/NHL
  • Need to get tough? Get Barnaby
  • Lightning's streak finally a winner
  • NHL briefs

  • Bucs/NFL
  • Fired Wake coach in front for QB position
  • Gramatica parents live dream
  • NFL briefs

  • College football
  • Miami trying to hold its new class together

  • Colleges
  • Bulls set to make their Series pitch with depth
  • 2001 Softball preview capsules

  • NBA
  • NBA briefs

  • College basketball
  • Gators get rare win vs. Georgia
  • Men's college basketball around the state

  • Et cetera
  • XFL makes sense to NBC's Ebersol
  • Forgettable game increases Internet traffic
  • Sports briefs

  • Preps
  • Top quarterback prospect commits to Florida State
  • Eagle commits to I-AA school
  • Terrier quick to deny that she likes to run
  • Athletes to watch
  • Citrus teams to meet in 2A-7 championship
  • Gators rout Eagles, 74-51
  • Ridgewood senior sets team career scoring mark
  • Countryside eliminates River Ridge
  • Athletes to watch
  • Spartans predict tough season ahead
  • King outlasts Plant to win 3A-10 title
  • Eagle commits to I-AA school
  • Penalty kicks lift Cougars
  • Ex-Spartans organize ceremony for Wright
  • JV Eagle taken to the hospital
  • Plant goes from worst to first
  • Addae, Buskey select West Virginia, FAMU
  • Track district breakdown


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts