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Philadelphia Flyers 1, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 FINAL @NHLdotcom

Lightning celebrate
The Lightning took advantage of some sloppy play by the Flyers to strike first in the series and take a 1-0 lead.

Lightning zap Flyers in Game 1
By Robert Picarello |
May 8, 2004

The Tampa Bay Lightning zapped the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning took advantage of some sloppy play by the Flyers in the second period to strike first in the series and take a 1-0 lead.

Tampa captain Dave Andreychuk got the Lightning on the board two minutes into the second period when he notched his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs right after a Philadelphia penalty to Marcus Ragnarsson expired. The play all started when Kim Johnsson couldn't clear the puck out of the Flyers' zone after a faceoff deep in the Philly end. Fredrik Modin gathered in the attempted clearing pass between the faceoff circles after it hit the referee and feathered a pass to Andreychuk to the left of Robert Esche, which the veteran winger ripped over the goaltender's catching glove high on the short side.

"I have to try and get chances, but first and foremost I have to try to keep the puck out of our own end, but it is nice to contribute offensively," Andreychuk said. "We got a lucky bounce. It hits the referee and Mo gets it and I get position on the guy and I just tried to get the puck on net. It's just one of those lucky, lucky breaks.

"I have to do what I have to do to help this team win."

The Flyers managed to tie up the game when Michal Handzus potted his third goal of the postseason less than five minutes later. John LeClair started the play off when he sent a backhand pass back to the point to Vladimir Malakhov. The defenseman then sent a cross-ice pass to Danny Markov, who fired a quick shot from the right point towards the Tampa net. Handzus deflected the attempt on goal with his skate, which Khabibulin managed to turn aside with his stick. But Handzus kept driving to the net on the play and managed to backhand the rebound past the sprawled Lightning netminder at 6:48 to tie the game up, 1-1.

The Lightning came right back and took a 2-1 lead after the Flyers again failed in their clearing attempts in their end. Philly had three chances to clear the puck out of their zone after the Lightning won a faceoff deep in their end zone, but luck seemed to be on Tampa's side in the second period.

Brad Richards scores
Timander whiffed on his attempt and Richards was there to backhand a shot past Esche on his stick side.

Mark Recchi first tried to get the play going the other way when he attempted a pass down the middle to Handzus from the right boards, but the puck was picked off by the Lightning. Modin gathered in the rubber in the left slot and attempted to backhand a pass to Brad Richards, who was parked in front of the net to the right of Esche. But Mattias Timander got his stick on the puck to break up the play. Unfortunately for the Flyers the deflection kicked up into the air and hit Handzus in the chest. Timander again had a chance to clear the puck out of harm's way, but instead of solidly clearing the puck into the corner, the defender whiffed on his attempt and Richards was there to backhand a shot past Esche on his stick side.

The Lightning increased their lead to 3-1 when their fourth line of Chris Dingman, Andre Roy and Eric Perrin chipped in with a goal at 7:04 of the third. Dingman started the play when he fired a hard dump-in to the right of Esche. The puck caromed off the backboards right onto the stick of Roy, who sent a quick wrist shot on net, which Esche turned aside with his left pad. But Dingman was there to pounce on the rebound to score his first goal of the postseason, giving his team a two-goal cushion with under 13 minutes to play.

"We don't expect them to go out and do that every night but that was a big lift for our bench and our team to see those guys score a goal," Richards said.

Nikokai Khabibulin stops Keith Primeau
Primeau deked Khabibulin, but the Tampa netiminder somehow managed to knock the puck off the forward's stick.

Tampa came out jumping on the opening shift of Game 1, making it seem as though the ice was tilted in its favor, but after that the play belonged to the Flyers. Philadelphia outshot and outchanced the Lightning in the opening session 9-5. It seemed as though the nine-day layoff between games for Tampa might play a role in the outcome of Game1, as the Bolts didn't look sharp in the opening period. Philadelphia had two odd-man rushes on Tampa in the first three minutes of the contest.

The Flyers best chance in the first came six minutes into the contest when Keith Primeau and Sami Kapanen skated in all alone on Nikolai Khabibulin. Simon Gagne started the two-on-none when he banked a pass off the left boards at center ice to a streaking Primeau. The hulking center broke down the left side on Khabibulin, with Kapanen trailing him on his right.

Primeau deked Khabibulin twice on his way in, but the Tampa netiminder somehow managed to knock the puck off the forward's stick as he attempted a backhand try. In the process, Primeau fell to the ice knocking the Lightning goalie out of the play. Kapanen gathered in the rebound to the left of the fallen Khabibulin and poked the puck into the open cage, but the goal was waved off, as Primeau was whistled for goaltender interference on the play.

Right then and there the Flyers should have known it wasn't going to be their day.


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