VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) _ For the second time in three days, the Philadelphia
Flyers took a break.
Their Eastern Conference finals opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, also had
Tuesday off _ choosing to take time to recover from a 6-2 thrashing that
snapped their eight-game playoff winning streak and evened the best-of-seven
But the older Flyers needed the rest.
After falling behind by two goals in the series opener Saturday,
Philadelphia didn't have the jump to make a comeback against the quick
The Flyers were playing just three days after eliminating Toronto from a
tough second-round series, while Tampa Bay was back on the ice following an
eight-day layoff after its sweep of Montreal.
A day off Sunday gave the Flyers the jump they needed for Game 2 and they
broke out with an even-strength goal, a power-play score, and a short-handed
goal in the first period.
``The difference in the two games was that we were able to score on our
odd-man rushes in Game 2 and we didn't score in Game 1,'' Philadelphia coach
Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday. ``We're playing pretty well.''
When the series resumes Thursday, the Flyers put their 6-0 home playoff
record on the line against the Lightning, 4-0 on the road in this postseason.
``It's a process, it's not one particular thing,'' Lightning coach John
Tortorella said of learning to win on the road. ``Once you start believing you
can do it, you start learning how to do it.''
Along with a stellar record at home, the Flyers have experience on their
side. Philadelphia's core group of veterans _ featuring captain Keith Primeau,
John LeClair and Mark Recchi _ reached the conference finals in 2000.
The Lightning, the top team in the East during the regular season, hadn't
won a playoff series before last year. Now they have to bounce back from a
blowout loss that cut into the invincibility of goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and
the rest of the team that was undefeated since Game 2 of the first round
against the New York Islanders.
Khabibulin allowed just 10 goals in 10 games as the Lightning went 9-1 in
the playoffs against New York, Montreal and Philadelphia.
But the ``Bulin Wall'' allowed three goals on five shots in the first 11:17
Monday and four goals on 12 shots when he was chased just 6:02 into the second
``They'll try to score goals in many different ways,'' Tortorella said. ``We
just have to play better and we have to play harder.''
Tortorella doesn't see the need to talk to his goalie before Game 3, when
Khabibulin returns to the nets.
``I won't have to say a word,'' Tortorella said Tuesday during a conference
call from Florida. ``Our team understands what Nik is, Nik understands our
team, and we understand the situation we're in. We've been in it before.
``These guys are pro athletes. Sometimes you need to show them the respect
as far as believing in them.''
A year ago, Tortorella started backup John Grahame over the
sometimes-fragile-psychied Khabibulin when the Lightning faced elimination in
Game 5 of the second round against New Jersey.
If the Flyers can get off to another quick start Thursday, Khabibulin's
confidence might be further shaken _ leaving him looking over his shoulder
toward Grahame, who relieved him Monday.
There was plenty of blame to go around, with 14 of 18 Lightning skaters
posting a minus rating.
``I think it's a pretty good wakeup call for us that we are going to have to
play a lot better, we are going to have to play with a lot more desperation to
beat that club over there,'' 40-year-old forward Dave Andreychuk said. ``I
would like to get on a flight right now and go play.''
He'll have to wait a little longer. The Lightning won't get to Philadelphia
until Wednesday afternoon following a morning practice at home.
As satisfying as the win was, Hitchcock had more to be happy about Tuesday
following his rant over video replays he said were used to incite the crowd.
Constant replays were showed of Donald Brashear's hit on Lightning forward
Tim Taylor that didn't result in a penalty Tampa fans felt was deserved. The
in-game crew violated NHL policy and was reprimanded Tuesday, leading to an
assurance from the team that it won't happen again.