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Lightning goalie Smith not consoled by his great play

PRAGUE, Czech Republic — If not for Lightning G Mike Smith, the outcome of Saturday's game might have been a lot worse.

But Smith refused to take solace in a terrific 39-save effort that gave outplayed and outshot Tampa Bay a chance.

"You play well, but it doesn't matter," Smith said. "At the end of the day, a win, that's all you can ask for. Tonight, it's not a win. It's disappointing."

Smith said his left forearm, bruised by a Dan Girardi shot early in the third period, should not cause problems.

"It's part of being a goaltender," he said. "I'll tough it up."

Smith was tough on the Rangers. With his arm throbbing seconds after Girardi's shot, he spread-eagled to rob Nikolai Zherdev at the right post to hold their 1-0 lead.

"Smitty has been solid this whole preseason," RW Marty St. Louis said. "We know what he's capable of, so it is disappointing" to lose.

STAMKOS' DEBUT: Steven Stamkos' first regular-season game was judged a success. The center took two shots, had two hits and won 3 of 6 faceoffs in 8:25 of ice time.

"He's one of those guys affected by the penalties because he doesn't kill penalties," coach Barry Melrose said. "He starts flying and playing well, and then he's sitting for a three-minute block and a four-minute block."

Stamkos had a big chance in the slot off a dish from RW Radim Vrbata. But G Henrik Lundqvist made a glove save to keep it 1-1 in the third.

"I knew he was going to go glove because it was wide open," Lundqvist said. "As soon as he shot the puck, I reacted. It felt pretty good to make that save."

"You got a glimpse of Steven tonight, what he can add," Melrose said. "You can see he is going to be special."

NO KOCI: David Koci was scratched, though Melrose on Friday indicated he would play. "I like the challenge," said the Prague enforcer. "I'm ready to play every time. I just continue to work hard and wait for my chance, and when I go out there, show I can play."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Vinny Lecavalier lost 14 of 19 faceoffs. C Chris Gratton won 9 of 12. … D Matt Carle played a game-high 29 minutes, was plus-1 and had four blocks. … It was a Lightning home game, so the scoreboards had Tampa Bay graphics, and Paul Porter, the public address announcer at the St. Pete Times Forum, was on the mic. … D Mike Lundin, G Karri Ramo and F Ryan Craig were also scratched.

Lightning goalie Smith not consoled by his great play 10/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 2:16pm]
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