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'Textbook play' creates a lead, albeit short-lived

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


TAMPA -- Petr Svoboda scored the goal. Ryan Johnson, Stan Drulia and Alexander Kharitonov made the plays.

Svoboda's goal Friday night at 4:59 of the third period gave the Lightning a short-lived 3-2 lead over the Islanders. But a look at what happened away from the puck bears examination.

After Johnson won the draw to Svoboda at the point, he broke for the net to set a screen. Drulia and Kharitonov set picks on two Islanders defenders that kept them from harassing Svoboda.

That allowed Svoboda time to skate toward the slot and use Johnson's screen on a slap shot that caught the upper corner.

"That was a textbook play," general manager Rick Dudley said Saturday at the Ice Palace.

"Any time I win the draw, I think about getting to the net," Johnson said. "When I win the draw that clean, the other center thinks he has to go out and block the shot. He let me right through."

SWALLOWED WHISTLE?: Claude Lapointe's tying goal might have been helped by the kind of stick infraction the NHL supposedly is trying to eliminate. So said Lightning defenseman Cory Sarich, who fell into teammate Mike Johnson, which helped the Islanders spring a two-on-one.

Sarich said he is pretty sure he was pulled down by a hook. Sarich said referees spoke to the Lightning in the preseason about defenders interfering with forwards by using their sticks.

"But there's such a thing as defensive interference," he said. "You go get a puck, and the forward slingshots around you and uses his speed and stick to his advantage. They have to call it both ways."

Sarich said he has to look at the videotape to see exactly what happened but added, "I know my falling down was not all my fault."

ANOTHER DAY: Brad Richards said of his first NHL regular-season game, "I'm glad it's over."

The 20-year-old center struggled at times, especially on the power play. He had one shot on goal and was minus-1 in 15 minutes, 27 seconds.

"I could have been a bit more relaxed," he said. "Everything was a new experience. The game was a lot quicker than even the exhibitions."

"He'll be just fine," coach Steve Ludzik said. "He plays with his head, and when his head is cluttered, it isn't the best situation for him."

TAKE NOTICE: Ludzik wants his players to stop yapping at the referees. With defenseman Andrei Zyuzin getting a 10-minute misconduct from referee Mark Faucette, he will reiterate the point.

Ludzik said Zyuzin could have received an additional minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for smashing his stick over the crossbar in frustration after Lapointe scored. "I think Faucette did us a favor," Ludzik said.

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