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Updated: Saturday, April 17, 2004 12:29 AM EDT
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Tampa Bay 3, NY Islanders 2 (ot)

TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Martin St. Louis remains invaluable to the Tampa Bay Lightning .

St. Louis scored off a turnover 4:07 into overtime as the Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight year with a 3-2 triumph over the New York Islanders .

Fredrik Modin forced Islanders defenseman Kenny Jonsson to cough up the puck in the neutral zone, St. Louis gained control and raced down the left side. From the faceoff circle, the Art Ross Trophy winner slapped a rolling puck off the left goalpost and into the net for his second game-winner of the series and fifth in 16 career playoff games.

"I was just trying to put the puck hard into the net and hope for the best," St. Louis said. "I really didn't expect it to go in. ... I really don't think about the game-winning goals but more about the opportunities my teammates are giving me."

"You can't say enough about St. Louis," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "I keep trying to find the words and he just does something extra special all the time."

The favorite for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, St. Louis is tied with Montreal's Alexei Kovalev with four postseason tallies.

"Marty has been huge," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "He has been our key player, a real difference maker. What he has also done is given us that spark, that energy, that leadership."

"Marty has been special," Modin added. "He has so much strength, so much heart and just sets a tone that carries over."

Blanked in the last two games and three of the first four in the series, the Islanders ended Nikolai Khabibulin 's shutout streak at 145 minutes, 8 seconds when Oleg Kvasha scored on the power play midway through the first period.

But Tampa Bay rallied for goals 2:04 apart late in the second to grab a 2-1 lead.

Determined not to go down without a fight, New York tied it 7 1/2 minutes into the third on Mark Parrish 's first goal of the series.

"We broke through a couple of times tonight and never stopped battling, but it wasn't good enough," Parrish said.

Modin collected three assists for the Lightning, who will host the first two games of the conference semifinals against the lowest-seeded survivor of the opening round.

"I don't care who we play," St. Louis said. "We have a couple of days to rest and recover, and better yet, we've shown the depth we have to last in any series."

Facing their fourth straight first-round exit, the Islanders got on the board 10:41 into the game when Kvasha poked in Alexei Yashin 's rebound from the top of the crease. No signal was given by the referee as the puck quickly bounced out of the net and play continued for more than two minutes.

During the next stoppage, video replay officials awarded Kvasha his first goal in 21 career playoff games.

Tampa Bay appeared to tie it wit 7:47 to go in the period as referee Don Koharski ruled Brad Richards ' bank shot from behind the left goalpost off goaltender Rick DiPietro crossed the goal line.

Replay officials again ruled in New York's favor and disallowed the tally. But Tim Taylor got the equalizer with 3:42 left in the second period for his first goal in 60 postseason games and Ruslan Fedotenko backhanded a rebound between DiPietro's pads to put the Lightning ahead.

"These guys have the tools and every night, we are showing it more and more," Taylor said. "You can't say enough about these guys and where this team has come from and how this team has developed and matured together."

Yashin was denied by Khabibulin at the left side of the net 4:16 into the third, but Parrish redirected defenseman Janne Niinimaa 's left point shot 3:12 later to make it 2-2.

"We battled back and fought hard," Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. "When you're down 3-1 (in the series), it's tough to play, but there was no quit in the dog, and that's important."

© 2005 STATS, Inc