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Boyle, Lightning won't dance around issues

Forward says Tampa Bay can't lay an egg in Game 4 against Detroit

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

DETROIT -- Brian Boyle would not cluck his tongue Monday when asked about his chicken dance.

The Tampa Bay Lightning center flapped his arms at Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader for refusing to fight Sunday at the end of Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series. Red Wings forward Luke Glendening, while saying the flap was overblown, said: "You can do whatever you want, but it's a hockey game. It's not a dance off."

Boyle said little more than that it was a "kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing." 

"We just have to respect our opponent," Boyle said. "I don't really want to talk about any individual guys. We've got enough to worry about. We've got to play way better. We should be talking about that. It shouldn't be 15 questions about the last three seconds of the game, in which we got pretty much manhandled."

More important than the chicken dance to the Lightning was the fact they laid an egg in a 2-0 loss at Joe Louis Arena. They lead the best-of-7 series 2-1, but don't want a repeat performance in Game 4 on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2, FS-D, FS-F).

Video: DET@TBL, Gm2: Doruin sets up Boyle for the lead

The Red Wings dominated puck possession in Game 3. They had a 43-23 advantage in even-strength shot attempts and outshot the Lightning 30-16. The Lightning had not been held to fewer than 18 shots over 82 regular-season and the first two playoff games, and they had been held in the teens only five times.

The line of Abdelkader, Glendening and Riley Sheahan held the Lightning line of Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov to zero shots, after that line combined for seven of the Lightning's eight goals over the first two games.

"They did a good job in the neutral zone stopping our speed, and when we did get it behind them, they did a good job interfering or getting in the way so we couldn't get to the puck," Killorn said. "You're not going to put up goals every single night, but I think you want to be getting opportunities, getting shots, creating momentum, being a line that whenever you're out there, you're a threat. I don't think we were a threat last night by any means."

Poor puck possession led to penalties. The Lightning killed them, holding the Red Wings 0-for-6 over 10:59 of power-play time, but the penalties disrupted flow and led to more possession problems.

"If you're not killing, you're sitting on the bench for a while, and it's tough to stay in the play," Boyle said. "A team like them, maybe they didn't score, but they had the puck a lot. They were in our end a lot. It's tough to kind of reset."
The Johnson line needs to be better. But so does the rest of the roster. Only four Lightning forwards had a shot in Game 3.

"We can't be a one-line team," Boyle said. "They've carried us so far. That's a lot to ask three guys to do. We've all got to contribute."

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