- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Calling a penalty in overtime of a playoff game is rare. Calling a pair to give one team a two-man advantage is unheard of.
The Tampa Bay Lightning scored 2:29 into the extra period last night while holding a two-man advantage to salvage a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals.
The loss leaves the Caps with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 conference quarterfinal series with Game4 tonight at the MCI Center. Game5 is Friday night in Tampa, Fla.
Three times in the game the Caps were down by a goal; three times they came back. They tied the game to force overtime with 2:56 left in regulation. The overtime winner by Vincent Lecavalier ended what had been a great game, with both teams fighting for every bit of ice and not willing to give an inch.
In the end, however, what killed the Caps was their inability to stay out of the penalty box, a fault that cost the team more than a few games during the regular season.
The victory was Tampa Bay's first in Washington since Nov.4, 1998, ending an 0-11 run at MCI.
The crowd was announced as 17,279, and that may have been the number of tickets sold. But at least 2,000 empty seats dotted the building, and one team spokesman said as of 5p.m. yesterday there were about 3,000 tickets available.
The setup for the winning goal actually began when Brendan Witt tied the game for the Caps at 17:04 of the third. As he was scoring on a bullet from the blue line, Jaromir Jagr was sandwiched at the left side of the goal, with Jassen Cullimore hitting him from behind the net and Pavel Kubina catching him from the other side with a right elbow to the face. Jagr sprawled on the ice while his teammates were wondering why there was no penalty call on Kubina.
At 1:18 of overtime, Kubina and Jagr met along the rear boards, and the Tampa Bay defenseman and the Caps wing each gave as well as received. Jagr was able to break one arm free and punched the defenseman. After allowing many worse infractions during the game, this one was called, and the Lightning had a power play.
At 2:12, Ken Klee twirled around and took left wing Dave Andreychuk with him, and the wing went down. It was incidental contact, but an official's arm went up and Tampa Bay had a two-man advantage for 1:06.
"I'm not really sure what happened," Klee said. "I turned, he was there, I just kind of bonked him. He's obviously a big man who was going to the front of the net with the puck. … I'll have to watch the replay to see what happened. But to call a 5-on-3 in overtime, he must have thought I did something pretty atrocious."
It took only 17 seconds for Lecavalier to put a shot past Olie Kolzig and end the game.
"They call 'em the way they seem 'em. I'm not going to cry about it," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Obviously I don't agree with the call on Jagr. It was just a 1-on-1 battle away from the play that you see 100 times a night. He saw it as roughing, and that's the way he called it."
The fans vented their frustration at the officials by littering the ice with bottles and other items after the final goal.
"What happened happened," Jagr said. "We have to make sure we get the lead because that's the most important thing, to get a lead in the game. They played differently tonight; they got young kids, they can skate, they can fly. … Maybe we need it. Later on we might say that loss helped us."
Washington never led but never trailed by more than a goal. Lecavalier got the Lightning started at 3:46 of the first, and Dainius Zubrus tied it at 14:21.
Vaclav Prospal put Tampa Bay back up at 3:44 of the second, and Zubrus tied it at 10:25. In the third, Martin St. Louis, the 5-foot-9 dynamo who had set up the two earlier goals, rocketed a shot off Olie Kolzig's glove at 11:33. Witt scored at 17:04, and the Caps were playing another overtime playoff game.
"They were a little more determined than us tonight," Cassidy said. "They won more 1-on-1 battles. You got to give them credit. We kept coming back, so we're the resilient team. Give us credit. In the end, if we play the way we're capable of playing, the way we did up there, a little tighter and don't worry about officials' calls, we'll be OK. [The officials] are going to make their calls. Some are going for you, some against you. Tonight, you can comment any way you want. I'm not going to go there. That's the way it worked out. That's the only disappointing part: We were in overtime, and we never got a chance to get going."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide