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Blue Jackets hand Lightning another loss

The puck trickles into the net before the Lightning’s Paul Ranger, left, or Ron Hainsley can get to it for the winning goal. It came after goalie Mike Smith fumbled the puck behind the net.

Associated Press

The puck trickles into the net before the Lightning’s Paul Ranger, left, or Ron Hainsley can get to it for the winning goal. It came after goalie Mike Smith fumbled the puck behind the net.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mike Smith promises one bad game will not change his playing style.

The Lightning goaltender said he still will be aggressive handling the puck and try to create offense by helping spark the transition.

But after Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena, in which two Smith misplays led to goals, including Jason Chimera's winner with 3:44 left, Smith knows he has to be more careful.

"The best thing a goalie wants is to get back in there after a game in which he didn't play well and put it in the past," Smith said. "It's over now. You can't do anything about it. You move on and get better for the next game and learn from it."

Though coach John Tortorella said the Lightning "played hard" and "defended well," there was much to dislike about the 10th loss in 11 games and, at 26-35-8, its continued dive to the bottom of the league.

Vinny Lecavalier scored his 33rd goal and first in 13 games on a penalty shot. But he had several more giveaways than the two for which he was credited and was minus-3. Marty St. Louis scored his 22nd goal and first in 11 games. But he also was minus-3 and had one shot.

The irony was the linemates scored after being broken up.

The power play was 0-for-7, including a failure on a four-minute advantage. And Chimera's goal came on a Columbus power play that was on an 0-for-34 streak and began when Jeff Hal­pern was caught holding, barely, in the offensive zone.

Then there was Smith, who since being acquired from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal has dazzled with puck and passing skills that have quickened the transition.

But his backhand pass along the back boards to defenseman Paul Ranger was intercepted by Dan Fritsche and led to Derek MacKenzie's first NHL goal that gave Columbus a 2-1 lead with 42 seconds left in the first period.

Smith fumbled the puck behind the net to begin a sequence that ended with Chimera's winner that dribbled through Smith's legs.

"We knew with our forecheck, if we could get on him, there might be turnovers," said Mac­Kenzie, who played two junior seasons with Smith.

Halpern, who came with Smith in the Richards deal, said he never before saw his teammate give up a goal after leaving the net, and he praised the Blue Jackets for "taking the boards away.

"But as forwards," he added, "we didn't do a good enough job getting into spots to bypass those guys. We have to present ourselves better, too."

A noble fall on the sword, but Smith can't be careless.

"As much as I come out and handle it, it's going to happen once in a while," he said of giveaways. "They did a really good job of taking options away, and they made me hang onto it a little longer and not make a decisive decision.

"Obviously a couple of goals went in that shouldn't have and that's the difference between winning and losing. You can't let in bad goals in this league and expect to win."

Blue Jackets 2 1 2 5
Lightning 1 2 0 3
Blue Jackets 2 1 2 5
Lightning 1 2 0 3

First Period1, Columbus, Vyborny 6 (Nash, Russell), 11:29. 2, Tampa Bay, Halpern 13 (Darche, Ouellet), 14:14. 3, Columbus, MacKenzie 1 (Brule, Fritsche), 19:18. PenaltiesLessard, TB (high-sticking), 1:09; Novotny, Col (tripping), 2:49; MacKenzie, Col, double minor (high-sticking), 5:30; O'Brien, TB, minor-misconduct (roughing), 9:29; Chimera, Col, misconduct, 9:29.

Second Period4, Columbus, Peca 5 (Zherdev), 11:29. 5, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 22 (Halpern), 16:35. 6, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 33 (penalty shot), 17:37. PenaltiesBoll, Col (interference), 1:09; Hainsey, Col (delay of game), 11:50.

Third Period7, Columbus, Chimera 14 (Zherdev, Tarnstrom), 16:16 (pp). 8, Columbus, Novotny 8 (Malhotra, Nash), 19:00 (en). PenaltiesSmith, TB (delay of game), :16; Nash, Col (high-sticking), 1:40; Tarnstrom, Col (interference), 11:31; Halpern, TB (holding), 15:15. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 11-11-5—27. Columbus 9-12-4—25. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 7; Columbus 1 of 4. GoaliesTampa Bay, Smith 13-14-0 (24 shots-20 saves). Columbus, Leclaire 24-15-6 (27-24). A14,796 (18,136).

Blue Jackets 5

Lightning 3

Blue Jackets hand Lightning another loss 03/09/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 9, 2008 10:41pm]
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