Monday, April 12, 2004

Khabibulin shuts the door

Martin St. Louis finally gets on the score sheet and Nikolai keeps the Islanders off of it. That sums up Game three in the Lightning-Islanders series in Long Island Monday night. Khabibulin collected his second 3-0 shutout in this series turning away 28 Islander shots including a frenzy of action late in the second period. It was that stand that set the tone for the night, Khabibulin sending a message to the Islanders that Game three would not go down as a win for them.

Brad Richards opened the scoring for the Bolts with a goal early in the first period, followed two minutes later by Martin St. Louis first goal of the playoffs. St. Louis like the idea of scoring so much he put another one into the Islander net late in the third. An empty net marker with ten seconds to go in the game.

The Islander fans decided that tough love was the approach to use for their home team, booing them throughout the third period. The backseat coaching did not payoff as the Lightning took control of the game, shutting down any hope of an Islander come back.

The two teams return to the Nassau coliseum on Wednesday, the Lightning hoping to be leaving New York with a 3-1 stranglehold on the series. If the Islanders hope to avoid that scenario they will have to find a way to get back on the score sheet. And solve this riddle known as Khabibulan.

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