TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The Tampa Bay Lightning were beaten at their own game.
``We lost most races to the puck. We lost most battles in the corners,'' defenseman Dan Boyle said after Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. ``It was definitely one those nights we want to forget.''
Coming off the biggest win in franchise history, a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Lightning played like the newcomers they are to the NHL's biggest stage.
The offense sputtered, squandering several opportunities to turn the game around. And goalie Nikolai Khabibulin wasn't nearly as good as he'll have to be if the Lightning want to avoid falling into a deeper hole Thursday night.
Coach John Tortorella has no doubts the team will bounce back in Game 2.
``I think you've got to be careful when you assess your hockey team that you don't blow their brains out with the few minutes here and there that you struggled,'' the coach said, shrugging off a question about whether the Flames played with more hustle and desperation.
``It's an easy thing to say you lose 4-1, we have got to play harder. I am not going to be a dummy and say that. I will look at the tape. We'll find some other things that we need to improve on, and we'll go about our business and try to get better.''
One of the adjustments figures to come on the power play. Tampa Bay was 1-for-5 after going 9-for-23 (39 percent) in producing one man-advantage goals in the last six games of the conference finals.
Even more distressing for the Lightning, the Flames created short-handed scoring opportunities on all three of Tampa Bay's power plays in the first two periods.
Jarome Iginla's short-handed goal gave Calgary a 2-0 lead when it looked like the Lightning might be on the verge of tying the score.
The goal was set up when Dave Andreychuk's pass skipped over Fredrik Modin's stick into the neutral zone. The speedy Iginla chased down the puck, batted it ahead before catching up again and firing at Khabibulin.
The Lightning goalie got his glove up to make the stop, but an alert Iginla stopped on a dime when he saw the puck bounce to Khabibulin's right.
Modin, thinking the puck went over the net, circled to the left of the goalie, leaving Iginla wide open.
``One thing with our power play, when it's going, we're holding on to the puck. I thought we were a little skittish with it,'' Tortorella said. ``We were just throwing it away and didn't really get it into a setup. But we'll bounce back with that and try to get some of the problem straightened out.''
The Lightning took solace in picking up the tempo in the third period.
Although Martin St. Louis trimmed their deficit to 3-1 with a power-play goal, that was as close as Tampa Bay would get.
Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 23 saves.
``I don't think they outworked us. They outplayed us,'' said Andreychuk, appearing in his first Stanley Cup finals in his 22nd season.
``It's going to be a long series,'' Modin said. ``They got the first one. We have to make sure we're ready for the next one.''
|Martin Gelinas (7) ASST: Craig Conroy (11), Andrew Ference (2)|
1 - 0 CGY
|SHG - Jarome Iginla (11) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 CGY
|Stephane Yelle (3) ASST: NONE|
3 - 0 CGY
|PPG - Martin St. Louis (6) ASST: Brad Richards (10), Dan Boyle (7)|
3 - 1 CGY
|PPG - Chris Simon (4) ASST: Oleg Saprykin (2), Robyn Regehr (5)|
4 - 1 CGY
|Stephane Yelle Interference|
|Pavel Kubina Holding|
|Robyn Regehr Holding|
|Andrew Ference Hooking|
|Ville Nieminen Roughing|
|Andre Roy Roughing|
|Cory Stillman Roughing|
|Shean Donovan Roughing|
|Oleg Saprykin Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Ruslan Fedotenko Roughing|
|Martin St. Louis Hi-sticking|