|ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2004||[Print without images]|
|Clement: Power play adjustments|
Calgary is also having trouble adjusting to the philosophy used by Tampa Bay's penalty-killing units. Unlike most teams, the Lightning play the puck rather than a man in shorthanded situations, attempting to get between the puck and the offensive player in order to deny him possession.
If a Flames player is down near the paint around the goal the Tampa penalty killers will leave him there and try to get between him and the puck to prevent chances from down low. That also creates traffic in the shooting lanes, so Calgary's point men must move laterally along the blue line to change the launch point of long shots and make it harder for defenders to block them.
Controlling rebounds also lets the Tampa defensemen worry about picking up a man rather than going after the puck. Khabibulin allowed his defensemen to play the puck rather than wandering after it in the Lightning's 4-1 win, making for better communication and more stability in the Tampa end and another way to prevent the Calgary crowd from getting revved up.
As for Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, he made some tremendous saves in Game 2 but needs more help from his defensemen. Calgary likes to box out the opposition in front of it's net, and as long as Kiprusoff is getting the kind of protection we saw in Game 1 he can settle in at the top of the crease and focus on the puck. But when Tampa gets inside position around the goal like in Game 2 he has to fight the urge to force things.
That means Kiprusoff needs to take one peek around a screen and keep his body in a tight position so he is able to make the right move when the puck gets to him. He failed to maintain that position in Game 2 and was beaten when he tried to spread himself out across the crease. Kiprusoff can also make things easier on his teammates in Game 3 by using the angle of his stick and pads to steer rebounds to the side or into the corners.Navigating a sea of red
It wasn't cited as a factor when the Colorado Avalanche (Denver: 5,280 feet) beat the New Jersey Devils (East Rutherford: 60 feet) in Game 7 in Denver for the 2001 Stanley Cup.
"What can you do? Short shifts?" Lightning winger Martin St. Louis said. "I'm sure we'll feel it, but right now, after playing so much hockey, you're lungs are in really good condition. But if your lungs are going to go, you can't be wasting your energy in bad areas."The time is now
"Feel rushed all day," St. Louis said. "But it's six o'clock for both teams. I don't think it's going to affect the outcome of the game. You just go to bed a little earlier, take a nap a little earlier, eat a little earlier and prepare yourself a little earlier."Media mayhem
Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle knows that hockey players often have to play hurt this time of the year. It's part of the code. Boyle also knows that media scrums this time of the year are extraordinarily large and sometimes dangerous what with all the cameras, boom mics and assorted equipment flying around the locker rooms.
Which is no doubt why Boyle kept his injured and heavily taped thumb tucked under a protective wooden rail in his locker Saturday morning in the visiting locker room of the Pengrowth Saddledome at the morning skate.
"I'm not hiding anything," he said. "I just need to be a little more cautious with you guys in here."He knows both towns
In the forefront of that group photo is Terry Crisp, the former Flames coach who directed that team and who is now a radio analyst for the Nashville Predators.
It's a time of mixed feelings for Crisp. He was the first coach in Tampa Bay Lightning history and is like a proud father seeing the organization grow into a Stanley Cup contender. At the same time, Calgary was the scene of his greatest coaching success.
"I know what you're going to ask me," he said. "Don't ask me."
Having been fired in both cities, it could be a toss up, but we think he's leaning toward the Flames. After all, when you're the coach of the only Stanley Cup winning team in franchise history, the legend grows and the community remembers you in a somewhat kinder fashion.This year is different
This playoff season there has been more than a few fights, culminating (at least for now) in a third-period semi-brawl during Tampa's Game 2 win.
"You guys (the media) make a big deal out of that third period," said Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella. "I think that third period is just playoff hockey. I don't think there's a big deal at all that went on there...To me it's just a part of playoff hockey.
Perhaps, but it doesn't happen all that often in the playoffs largely because no team wants to take a crucial penalty that could change the course of the game. In many a playoff series the "enforcer" on a team doesn't even always get to dress for the game.
What's different in this series is both teams are still dressing players who can and do fight. They can play a little too, but if you're in the lineup and the game is out of hand, well, there are always a few scores that have to be settled at some point.A matter of preference
Still, he shocked a great many in the arena when he said his favorite team growing up was the Montreal Canadiens. "I just liked the way they played," he said. "That and I used to love watching games (on TV) from the Montreal Forum."Sutter psychology
The biggest change you have with our team is they are a team. It was -and I have said this hundreds and hundreds of times before-it was so unfair when I came here last year, so unfair the pressure that was put on two or three players win or lose. Hey, it was their whole deal and it was totally unfair to those players.
"There was nobody else being held accountable, nobody other than those two or three players. It's easy to talk about accountability, but it's a lot tougher to do something about it and I don't think that was what was going on, so, if that helps some, fine."Notable & Quotable
"Brad Richards lent me a suit. I don't think it was one of his best ones," Boyle laughed. "I'm not too happy about that."For comparison's sake