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Lightning power play fizzles in loss

TAMPA — The Lightning outplayed the Penguins in every way except one Monday night. Pittsburgh made the most of its chances. Tampa Bay did not and fell 3-2 in a preseason game at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Pittsburgh goaltenders Dany Sabourin and John Curry stopped 37 shots. But Tampa Bay got only nine shots and zero goals in 9:36 of power-play time, and the Penguins, without many star players, scored twice with a man advantage.

Tyler Kennedy's power-play goal 4:54 into the third period, short side past G Olaf Kolzig, snapped a 2-2 tie.

The Lightning (1-1) outshot the Penguins 39-24.

"We just couldn't put the puck behind the goalie," said RW Radim Vrbata, who had a game-best six shots. "The bottom line is a win or a loss. For now, it's preseason. We're going to take the good things and build on it."

That included the line of C Steven Stamkos, Vrbata and Ryan Malone, which combined for 11 shots. Stamkos missed another seven shots, and Malone showed rust in his first game, but coach Barry Melrose said the line will play the rest of the preseason.

C Jussi Jokinen scored and had another strong game. W Michel Ouellet scored, and Kolzig was relatively sharp.

Tampa Bay just couldn't score when it had to.

"I liked everything about tonight except the scoring," Melrose said. "We've got a lot of good things happening. I'm never satisfied after a loss, but we did a lot of good things to build on."

FIGHT NIGHT: C Zenon Konopka fought three times, for which he received a game misconduct. LW David Koci and Paul Bissonnette fought twice and received game misconducts. Former Lightning W Ruslan Fedotenko got a five-minute major for checking D Janne Niskala from behind, head-first into the boards. Niskala stayed in the game but later had an ice pack on his neck.

ROSTER PUZZLE: Vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said he will not hesitate to put C Vinny Lecavalier and D Paul Ranger on injured reserve to start the season if warranted. Both are rehabbing offseason shoulder surgeries.

"I'm not going to (mess) around with these guys if they're not ready," Lawton said. "I'm not stupid. This is for the season."

The move, if made, has a silver lining as it would provide Tampa Bay some flexibility in trimming its season-opening roster.

The team has 17 forwards on one-way contracts that pay the same whether the player is in the NHL or the minors. Trades would be the best way to trim, but injured reserve, where players must remain for at least seven days, also reduces roster count.

C Jeff Halpern (knee) will be on it, as could Nick Tarnasky (thumb). And while Lawton made no predictions regarding Lecavalier and Ranger, he did say "there's no guarantee" they will be ready to start the season.

"We are monitoring injuries very carefully," he said.

CUTS: Lawton said cuts will be today, Wednesday and Thursday, and he expects to bring 24 to 27 players to Europe and perhaps make final reductions there.

Rosters for four teams traveling to Europe must be set by 3 p.m. Oct. 3. The roster limit is 23, though traveling teams can go to 24 if the extra player is a goalie. The extra goalie goes away when the teams return to North America.

ODDS AND ENDS: Halpern, expected out until mid December, is skating daily. … The Lightning Foundation gave $5,000 to the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA.

Around the league

QUENNEVILLE ARREST: For-mer Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville was arrested Friday in a Denver suburb and is due in court next month on suspicion of driving under the influence and failure to use headlights.

Times wires contributed to this report.

>>TONIGHT

Lightning
vs. Rangers

When/where: 7:30; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

Radio: 620-AM

Lineup: G — Mike Smith, Riku Helenius. F — Vinny Prospal, Jussi Jokinen, Marty St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Radim Vrbata, Gary Roberts, Chris Gratton, Mark Recchi, Jason Ward, Ryan Craig, Adam Hall. D — Andrej Meszaros, Mike Lunsin, Shane O'Brien, Janne Niskala, Vladimir Mihalik, Matt Carle.

Photo gallery

See lightning.tampabay.com for more photos from Monday night's game.

Lightning power play fizzles in loss 09/22/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:12pm]
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