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Tampa Bay 4, New Jersey 3
Posted: Tuesday April 29, 2003 12:09 AM
New Jersey Devils
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Tampa Bay Lightning
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TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Dave Andreychuk wasn't about to make things easy on his former team and his former coach.

Andreychuk scored with 13:52 remaining as the Tampa Bay Lightning squandered a three-goal lead before pulling out a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game Three of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Moments after New Jersey's John Madden put a shot from the blue line off the right goalpost, Tampa Bay counterattacked. Devils defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky could not clear the puck up the left boards, Andreychuk picked it off and worked a give-and-go with Ben Clymer.

A former Devil, Andreychuk got the return feed in the slot and wristed a shot inside the left goalpost for his 42nd career playoff goal and first game-winner since the 1993 conference quarterfinals for the Toronto Maple Leafs and current New Jersey coach Pat Burns.

"The shot, I was just trying to get it away quicker than Martin (Brodeur) could realize," Andreychuk said. "It's one of the those goals you catch them by surprise going the wrong way. I (took) a shot that surprised him. After the goal, there was still 14 minutes in game."

The goal did not sit well with Burns, who protested from the bench after referee Marc Joannette refused to let the Devils make a late player change.

"It was the wrong call," Burns said. "I think after all these years in the league, do I think I am that stupid that I would put four forwards and one defenseman (on the ice) in a 3-3 tie in the third period? I think everyone who knows me knows I am not stupid. It was the wrong call."

Dave Newell, NHL supervisor of officials for the series, defended Joannette's decision.

"All night long, the referee who is conducting the line changes goes to the bench, makes eye contact with the visiting coach first, 'Do you want to change?' In this case, yes," Newell said. "He gives him five seconds, and they figured they gave him more than five seconds and he put four players on the ice.

"The fact of the matter is, as it ended up with New Jersey having only one defenseman, we can't make exceptions that you only have one defenseman out there. You've had your time to change and these are the five players that are on the ice and these are the five players that have to play."

Devils defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky said his team briefly lost its composure.

"We had to be patient, a little bit poised, get the forward back to the bench and try to change," he explained. "We, for some reason, started panicking and we had to calm things down."

It wasn't the first unsettling moment for the Devils.

Just 77 seconds into the game, defenseman Scott Stevens was struck on the left side of his face by a slap shot off the stick of defenseman Pavel Kubina. He left a trail of blood as he slid on the ice, was helped to the locker room and did not return.

"I never want to hurt anybody on the ice," Kubina said. "I want to apologize to Scott Stevens. It was an accident. I just wanted to shoot the puck on net. You never want to hurt a guy and see him on the ice like that."

"It was tough when Scottie went down," Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "Our heads were a little scattered when we saw our captain go down."

The Lightning jumped on the absence of the All-Star, scoring three goals in the opening period.

Just over three minutes after Stevens left, Vaclav Prospal opened the scoring. He carried the puck along the goal line and tried to center it. But it hit defenseman Colin White and deflected between Brodeur's pads.

Tampa Bay struck again at 9:21 when Brad Richards sent a behind-the-back pass from behind the net to Martin St. Louis, who redirected it over Brodeur's right shoulder.

Held to two points in his first eight playoff games, Richards also set up the Lightning's third goal. Fredrik Modin got a pass from Richards and carried along the boards to the bottom of the right faceoff circle before pulling up and wristing a shot under Brodeur's left arm.

It was the first time in Brodeur's career he surrendered three goals in the first period of a playoff game.

But the Devils regained momentum in the second period, tying it over a span of 8:28.

"We knew Stevens wasn't coming back," New Jersey center Scott Gomez said. "The defense stepped it up, we regrouped and got our first goal."

Just 24 seconds after Vincent Lecavalier took an ill-advised slashing penalty, John Madden scored his fourth playoff goal. Parked in front of the net, he eluded defenseman Nolan Pratt's pokecheck and slid the puck between goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin's pads at 6:38.

Grant Marshall cut the deficit to 3-2 just 58 seconds later with his second goal in as many games, backhanding a shot from above the crease around Khabibulin's left pad.

The Devils capped their outburst on a tally by Jeff Friesen that was nearly missed by referees Joannette and Dan Marouelli.

Gionta fed the puck to Friesen at the top of the left circle, where he rifled a slap shot over Khabibulin's right shoulder. The puck hit the bracing at the back of the net and caromed out.

Play continued for 28 seconds before a video review credited Friesen with his second postseason goal.

"That could have taken the wind out of our sails," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "When it's 3-3, to get to that, it's a mind-set. We need to get back to how we played in the first. We were wailing. This (win) puts us back in the picture."

Game Four is Wednesday at Tampa Bay.

 


 
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