Sunday, May 09, 2004

Lightning Strike!

So much bunk is the theory that a lengthy wait for the Flyers and Leafs to sort things out would be detrimental to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Taking less that a period to shake off any rust, the Bolts announced on Saturday that they plan on continuing the march for Stanley.

Tampa took a one game lead in the best of seven series with a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon in Tampa. The win marks the fifth time that the Bolts have defeated the Flyers this season. It’s the kind of record that must be making the folks in the City of Brotherly Love feeling just a tad nervous about.

Brad Richards, Dave Andreychuk and Chris Dingman scored goals for the Lightning as Nickolai Kahbibulan had a rather uneventful day in the nets, handling all but one of the 20 shots from the Flyers with relative ease.

The Flyers had their chances early on as they seemed the sharper of the two teams, but Khabibulan held the fort allowing his team mates to come back in the final two periods. Philadelphia felt a bit cheated after a Sami Kapenan goal was waived off due to goaltender interference, the Flyers however bounced back from that disappointment to score on a Michal Handzus shot, the goal marking only the 10th goal scored on Tampa in ten playoff games.

The Flyers who played a decent game will have to hope to scale the Khabibulan wall should they hope to advance to the finals. He seems to be in one of those Goaltender zones where every shot is easily found, his goaltending helping to get his team on the go in the offensive end. The curse of any Stanley Cup contender is to run into a hot goaltender and with a goal against of under one, Khabibulan is one such hot goaltender.

With game one under their belts, Tampa now moves on to Game two on Tuesday night, just another stop on their way to a chance to grab hold of the Stanley Cup.

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