for this game

Prospal, Lightning edge Devils

Apr 17, 2007 - 4:15 AM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- When Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis play well the Tampa Bay Lightning usually come away with a victory. This time, Vaclav Prospal made sure of it.

Prospal scored the game-winning goal with 6:29 remaining in regulation as the Lightning earned a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils to take two-games-to-one lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.

Lecavalier had a goal and an assist and St. Louis assisted on all three tallies for Tampa Bay, which hosts Game Four on Wednesday. Lightning center Brad Richards scored his first goal of the playoffs and had an assist.

"We slugged our way through it. It could have gone either way," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said. "It's just a matter of being cognizant of when you win a game, expect the best from the team that just lost a game. It always happens that way and I think we are better prepared mentally for that."

Johan Holmqvist made 32 saves in the win, including a key point-blank stop on Jim Dowd as time expired in the second period.

John Madden dug the puck out of the corner in the final seconds of the the session and fed Dowd, who was racing toward the front of the net. Dowd got a quick shot off, but Holmqvist somehow gloved it, with less than one second remaining.

"I wasn't sure if I should go out and I stayed in," Holmqvist said. "He (Dowd) made a play and it was kind of a lucky save. It was a big play for us."

"Look at Holmer's save at the end of the second period," Tortorella said. "What happens if he doesn't make that save? The first game you could tell he was nervous from the get-go. But he's played excellent the last two games and has given us a chance, especially tonight."

Two-time Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur stopped 21 shots for the Devils, who went 0-for-4 on the power play.

"I thought we played a strong game," St. Louis said. "We had a little bit of a let down in the second period, but Holmer stood tall for us. We scored a big goal at the start of the third. Whenever you get goals like that to get the momentum, it helps."

Lecavalier opened the scoring on the power play at 9:06 of the first period. The center's wrister from the bottom of the right faceoff circle somehow squeezed its way between the left goal post and Brodeur's left skate.

"They threw pucks at the net, hoping something was going to happen. The first one, he (Lecavalier) hits the side of the net and it hits me and goes in," Brodeur said. "Another fluke one. The last one was almost a copy of the goal of the other night. The puck is not bouncing (our way), but our bounce is due."

After New Jersey tied the game on a second-period tally from John Madden, Richards put the Lightning ahead 69 seconds into the third, burying a centering pass from St. Louis.

"It's important to play with a lead on New Jersey," Richards said. "We're not playing bad hockey, but we don't get a lot of shots. They're disciplined. It was a hard fought game. It could have gone either way."

Zach Parise knotted the game at 4:46 of the third when his wrister from the left side deflected off Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle and into the net. Boyle had gone into a slide to block what appeared to be a centering pass by Parise and Holmqvist began moving to his left in anticipation of the pass. When the puck hit Boyle, it went directly to the area vacated by the netminder.

Prospal netted the game-winner, almost by accident, as he screened Brodeur during Lecavalier's wrister from the right side. The shot deflected off his stick and found its way into the goal.

"I'm going to take this one," Prospal said. "I'm sure I'm going to hear some jokes about it, but it turns out to be a game-winning goal. It was a broken play. Two guys charge Marty (St. Louis), he gets it to Vinny (Lecavalier) who shoots and it bounces off my stick and off the goal post."

Devils coach Lou Lamoriello said the loss was a result of missed opportunities.

"Everything went along the way we wanted to see it go. Unfortunately, we didn't capitalize on the power play in the first period (0-for-3) ... then it was just who was going to get the first break.

"We were moving the puck extremely well and had a lot of energy. Our changes were good. We made a couple of mistakes and unfortunately it was costly. We have to get get ready to play on Wednesday."

New Jersey right wing Jamie Langenbrunner said Brodeur's play will be a key for the team going forward.

"We all know what he's capable of and that he's carried this organization for years during the regular season and playoffs," he said. "Maybe he hasn't been at his best yet, but we know it's there."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 1 1 2
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, BRAD
    RICHARDS) 9:06
    2ND PRD: NJD - JOHN MADDEN 1 (SERGEI BRYLIN, BRAD LUKOWICH) 17:27
    3RD PRD: TAM - BRAD RICHARDS 1 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, FILIP KUBA) 1:09
    N

    Apr 16 9:31 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Devils vs. LightningApr 16 9:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 2
    TAMPA BAY 3
    3RD PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 1 (VINCENT LECAVALIER, MARTIN ST. LOUIS)
    13:31

    Devils vs. LightningApr 16 9:18 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 2
    TAMPA BAY 2
    3RD PRD: NJD - ZACH PARISE 4 (TRAVIS ZAJAC, JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER) 4:46

    Devils vs. LightningApr 16 9:03 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 1
    TAMPA BAY 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - BRAD RICHARDS 1 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, FILIP KUBA) 1:09

    Devils vs. LightningApr 16 8:57 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 1 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, BRAD
    RICHARDS) 9:06
    2ND PRD: NJD - JOHN MADDEN 1 (SERGEI BRYLIN, BRAD LUKOWICH) 17:27
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --

    Apr 16 8:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 1
    TAMPA BAY 1
    2ND PRD: NJD - JOHN MADDEN 1 (SERGEI BRYLIN, BRAD LUKOWICH) 17:27

    Devils vs. LightningApr 16 8:32 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, BRAD
    RICHARDS) 9:06
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 9 9
    TAM 5 5
    GOALI

    Apr 16 7:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL NEW JERSEY 0
    TAMPA BAY 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) VINCENT LECAVALIER 4 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, BRAD
    RICHARDS) 8:06

    Devils vs. LightningApr 16 7:29 PM