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Lightning hand Pens eighth straight home loss

1/27/2004

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- There was nothing wrong with the Tampa Bay
Lightning's power play that playing the slumping Pittsburgh
Penguins couldn't fix.

Pavel Kubina scored two power-play goals 54 seconds apart, Cory
Stillman added two goals during Tampa Bay's four-goal third period,
and the Lightning ran the Penguins' home losing streak to a
club-record eight games by winning 6-2 Tuesday night.

The game was the NHL's first in more than two seasons with
multiple penalty shots -- both unsuccessful. Penguins rookie
Marc-Andre Fleury smothered Dan Boyle's shot at 15:44 of the second
and Brian Holzinger shot high and wide off the glass at 12:00 of
the third after a Lightning player threw a stick as he skated down
the slot.

The Lightning began the night with the NHL's 26th-ranked power
play, only to go 3-for-6 with the man advantage. Martin St. Louis
also scored shorthanded into an empty net in the third.

"We thought Fleury was that good -- he played very well right
through the game -- but our power play scored a couple of timely
goals," coach John Tortorella said. "We were fortunate to get a
couple of five-on-threes and we got it done."

Despite opening a 1-0 lead -- their first at home since they beat
Chicago 1-0 on Dec. 29 -- the Penguins have been outscored 40-8
during the longest single-season home ice losing streak in their
37-year history. They have lost seven straight overall.

Boyle had a goal and two assists, Fredrik Modin added a goal and
an assist, and Brad Richards had three assists as the Lightning
finished off a 3-0-0-1 road trip that started in western Canada.
They are 9-2-0-2 in their last 13.

"It was an unbelievable road trip with a lot of travel and we
got seven of eight points," Kubina said. "It was a very tough
road trip, but we've been playing great the last couple of weeks."

Kubina scored 31 seconds into the second on a slap shot off the
post from the right point with the Lightning on a five-on-three
advantage created by penalties on Drake Berehowsky and Rico Fata 10
seconds apart. Kubina made it 2-1 at 1:25 with the Lightning still
on the power play.

Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk was visibly unhappy with Fata's
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for barking at referee Paul
Devorski and didn't play Fata the rest of the game.

"It's the little things, you just can't have that," Olczyk
said. "Devo told him to cool it and he didn't; we were shorthanded
as it was. That cost us two goals and you just can't have that."

The Lightning had a chance to make it 3-1, but Fleury easily
stopped Boyle's penalty shot by sprawling across the goal line.
Fleury has stopped both penalty shots he faced; he also turned
aside the Kings' Esa Pinnes in his NHL debut Oct. 10.

"I was planning on shooting right from the beginning, but he
came out so far, I had nothing to look at so I had to fake him one
way or another," said Boyle, 0-for-2 on career penalty shots. "I
really had him beat, I just ran out of time and room."

Fleury has allowed four or more goals in each of his last six
games, but hardly had a chance on three of the Lightning's goals
and was off the ice for a fourth. Still, he lost his 11th decision
in his last 12 and is 4-14-2 in his first season.

"It's pretty tough," Fleury said. "Obviously, everybody wants
to win."

Perhaps relieved that Boyle didn't score after he hauled him
down, the Penguins' Josef Melichar scored his first NHL goal later
in the second on a knuckleball-like shot that tied it at 2.
Melichar ended a 136-game scoreless streak, the longest in Penguins
history at the start of a career.

The announced crowd of 9,391 on a snowy night was probably only
half that and was the Penguins' smallest at home since 7,170 turned
out during a Dec. 19, 1995, snowstorm. This is the first season
since the Penguins have had two crowds below 10,000; 9,576 turned
out against Atlanta on Dec. 1.

It was the first NHL game with two penalty shots since the Wild
and Kings had one each on Oct. 7, 2001.

Game notes
John Grahame made 20 saves to improve to 7-1-1 against
Pittsburgh. ... D Darryl Sydor, acquired by Tampa Bay earlier in
the day from Columbus, was not in uniform. ... The Lightning's trip
included wins at Calgary and Edmonton and an overtime loss at
Vancouver. ... Tampa Bay has outshot Pittsburgh 112-50 in their
three games. They play again Thursday at Tampa Bay. ... According
to the Elias Sports Bureau, Terry Murray holds the NHL record for
longest scoreless streak at the start of a career -- 217 games
before he scored for the Flyers during the 1980-81 season. ... St.
Louis has 17 goals in 21 games.