Skip to main content

Lightning coach has interesting spin on his club's Game 1 loss

The coach liked what he saw in a 5-3 loss in Game 1, and he liked it even more on Friday in watching the videotapes.

"I am not going to get into specifics, but we did a lot of the things we wanted to do," Tortorella said after the Lightning practised at Floyd Hall in Montclair. "Watching the tape, I felt even better about it.

"That is going to take a lot of questions out of the repertoire about adjustments. We're not making any adjustments."

There was a lot of positive for Tortorella.

Big guns Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis scored, and despite giving up five goals, his defence played well. Tampa Bay also tallied three times against Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, and it was right there - for 63 seconds - after tying the game in the third period.

The one thing that needs to change for the Lightning, Tortorella really can't control. It's the play of goaltender Johan Holmqvist. He struggled in his first playoff game, and can't afford to do it again Saturday night at the Continental Airlines Arena if Tortorella and company want to go home tied in the best-of-seven series.

Holmqvist was beaten five times on 24 shots, and at least three of the goals were his fault.

"The kid was nervous," Tortorella said. "He has a right to be in his first NHL playoff game.

"But I think he knows how to self assess himself very well and he is going to be better. I think the nerves will be out. Now it's just time to play."

Tortorella wants Holmqvist just to be himself in Game 2. He wasn't aggressive in the opener.

Holmqvist described his performance as just one of those nights.

"You try to learn from it and get over it," the 28-year-old said.

The Devils have other plans.

"We just want to get a lot of shots off," said Devils centre Scott Gomez, who had three assists Thursday night. "We want to test him right away.

"He made some keys saves and ran into some bad luck."

Holmqvist also gave up some bad goals. Zach Parise had two, scoring the winner in the third, a little more than a minute after Lecavalier made it 3-3 with his second of the game.

Parise worked a give-and-go with Jamie Langenbrunner and beat Holmqvist with a shot to a short side off the goaltender's shoulder. It was just a bad play by a butterfly goaltender who went down too quickly and opened up the top of the net.

Brian Gionta's clinching goal with 1:22 to play happened after Holmqvist gave the puck away after a save.

Brodeur said not to make too much out of Holmqvist's performance, noting that he beat New Jersey twice in three regular-season games, allowing five goals.

"Every game is a different game in the playoffs," Brodeur said after sitting out an optional skate at the Devils' practice facility in West Orange. "You have to focus, turn around and make a difference. "You have to not be the guy who makes the difference for the other side. You try to give your team a chance to win."

Even Brodeur didn't have the best of opening games. He got caught looking around defenceman Colin White on Lecavalier's game-tying goal and had another one of those infamous wraparound goals get past him on Lecavalier's first. The puck might have deflected off Devils defenceman Brian Rafalski.

"When you play well, it's almost as bad as playing bad," he said. "You have to be even and stay aware of what is going on."

One adjustment the Devils plan to make is to stay out of the penalty box. The Lightning had six power plays, including two two-man advantages, one that led to a goal.

Defensively, New Jersey should expect to see more of Lecavalier, St. Louis and Brad Richards, the Lightning's big three players. St. Louis played over 28 minutes while Lecavalier was on 26:03 and Richards 24:17.

"This is the playoffs," Tortorella said. "I am going to live and die with my best players."



Keys to Victory: St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche (Game 6)

Here's what the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis blues need to do to win Game 6 -- and either close things out or force Game 7 this weekend.


Sierra Costa Becomes first Woman GM in Canadian Jr. A Hockey History

Sierra Costa has broken the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s gender barrier, becoming the first woman to serve as GM of a Canadian Junior A league team.

Blake Coleman

Flames' Blake Coleman Reacts to Controversial Disallowed Goal in Game 5

Blake Coleman wasn't happy about the disallowed goal that prevented Calgary from taking a lead late in Game 5. "I didn’t feel that I kicked it."