On the road again
Lightning happy to away from distractions for Game 5Posted: Thursday May 01, 2003 4:55 PM
Updated: Thursday May 01, 2003 7:42 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Trailing 3-1 and facing elimination, the Tampa Bay Lightning prefer to be in New Jersey.
There will be no distractions at the Continental Airlines Arena for Game 5 in the best-of-seven series with the Devils. There will be no extra tickets to worry about, no antsy fans grumbling if the power play falters or the team falls behind a goal, and maybe no pressure.
"It's good to have that situation on the road, where we're just going to go out and play our game," Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk said.
"I think that building is not a building that we have to worry about intimidating our players. Just go out, play our game with the attitude that it's one game, and we have to take it from there."
The Lightning players realize the Devils haven't dominated the series.
New Jersey won the opener 3-0, scoring all three goals in the third period. The Devils won Game 2 in overtime and posted a 3-1 win in Game 4, a game that was close until Scott Stevens scored a third-period power-play goal.
Stevens played more than 27 minutes on Wednesday. The rugged Devils captain missed most of Game 3 after being hit in the ear by a shot in the first period.
Stevens even set the tone in Game 4 with a couple of early hits that had to encourage his teammates and discourage the Lightning.
Nevertheless, the Lightning still think they can turn things around.
"There isn't anyone in here who doesn't believe," Lightning center Tim Taylor said. "We have to go in there and play our best and come out with a victory. If we come out of it, then we're bringing the series back and then the pressure mounts on them.
"Then you win Game 6 and all of sudden you're in Game 7. Anything can happen in Game 7."
While that may be taking a few too many steps, the Lightning won four straight games against Washington in the first round after losing the first two. Three of the four wins were on the road.
Coming back against New Jersey won't be easy. The Devils have lost only twice in nine games since the playoffs started. They are 5-0 at home.
"In a series like this, I think any time you can have three wins going back into your building, it's obviously an advantage that goes to us," Devils center John Madden said.
If the Lightning are going to come back, they need Vincent Lacavalier to start playing well. The young star has only seven shots and one assist in four games. He is minus-4 for the series.
"We're going to have to find a way to get the puck on net and
get the bounces," Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. "You
have to work to get the bounces.