TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Fredrik Modin was in the right place at the right time
all night. Still, he didn't get a good look at Martin St. Louis' game-winning
``It was a rocket,'' the Tampa Bay forward said Friday night after the NHL
scoring champion gave the Lightning a 3-2 victory that eliminated the New York
Islanders from the opening round of the playoffs for the third year in a row.
``I didn't see it go in, but I sure saw it come out,'' added Modin, who had
assists on all three Tampa Bay goals. ``It bounced right out. I don't know how
it got there that fast.''
Despite being outplayed for much of three games on its home ice, the
Lightning _ the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference _ took the
best-of-seven series in five games. They will play the lowest seed remaining in
the conference semifinals.
Tampa Bay is in the second round for the second straight year and the second
time in team history.
``Those are the games you want to play. Those are the games you want to be
involved in,'' said St. Louis, who ended it from the left circle 4:07 into
overtime. ``Win or lose, you remember those games. They're fun. You dream about
this as a kid _ sudden death overtime.''
Nikolai Khabibulin failed in his bid for an NHL-record fourth shutout in the
series, but finished with 24 saves _ two in overtime before St. Louis lifted
the Lightning's only shot of the extra period over the glove of goalie Rick
That won the only game of the series that wasn't decided by a 3-0 score.
``It was a good shot, good player,'' DiPietro said.
The Islanders didn't take any consolation in playing well after being
dominated in Games 3 and 4 at the Nassau Coliseum, where they had the best home
record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season.
``No matter how good you play, we lost the series,'' DiPietro said. ``We're
going home and they're still playing.''
Oleg Kvasha scored on a power play for New York midway through the first
period, ending a drought against Khabibulin, who hadn't given up a goal to the
Islanders since early in the third period of Game 2.
Tim Taylor and Ruslan Fedotenko scored late in the second period to give
Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead that looked like it might hold up. But New York's Mark
Parrish answered with his first goal of the series with 12:32 left in
Khabibulin tied a league record with his third shutout of the series
Wednesday night and stopped 113 of 115 shots in the first four games.
No goaltender has ever had four shutouts in a series and it took a video
replay to confirm Khabibulin lost his bid on Kvasha's power-play goal with 9:19
remaining in the second period.
The goal ended Khabibulin's shutout streak at 145 minutes, nine seconds and
was New York's first since Jason Blake's empty-netter in the final minute of
the Islanders' victory in Game 2.
DiPietro did his best to make it stand up, rejecting everything the
Lightning had to offer until Taylor and Fedotenko broke through within a 2:04
span late in a second period in which Tampa Bay outshot the Islanders 15-5.
Modin, who had eight points in the series, took a shot from in front of the
net before Taylor tapped in a rebound. Then he helped Fedotenko capitalize on a
sequence in which DiPietro lost his stick during a Lightning onslaught.
The New York goaltender blocked one shot with his legs, but was caught out
of position when Modin's shot glanced off his pads to Fedotenko an instant
after Islanders center Dave Scatchard hastily handed his stick to the flustered
Fedotenko's goal was scored so quickly that DiPietro didn't have a chance to
get a proper grip on the stick.
Modin made the right play in overtime, too, getting the puck to St. Louis
heading up the left side.
``He gave me a chance to walk in,'' St. Louis said. ``I knew he was going to
the net and the puck was rolling. I was just trying to put it on net, and it
happened to go in.''