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Tampa Bay Lightning's third line a key to team's playoff success

WASHINGTON — C Dominic Moore said he, Sean Bergenheim and Steve Downie do not have a cute name for their line.

So Sun Sports television analyst Chris Dingman, a member of Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup-winning team, suggested the PITA line, as in Pain In The (rear end).

"That's funny," Downie said.

And appropriate. The players on what is considered a third line have eight of the team's 26 playoff goals. And all their goals seem to have been important.

Each of Bergenheim's four have put Tampa Bay ahead. Downie, with two goals, scored the winner in Game 6 against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and Friday tied Game 1 of the semifinals against the Capitals. Moore, with two goals, got a hustling empty-netter in Game 1 against the Capitals to seal the 4-2 win.

"It's huge what they do," C Vinny Lecavalier said Saturday. "That's what makes the difference, big goals by them. It can change a series, and that's what they did against Pittsburgh. What they did is phenomenal."

Said Bergenheim, "The reason is the mind-set of taking pucks to the net and forcing ourselves in with the puck. In front of the net, we're pretty strong, and in the corners, we give each other good support."

They also have speed, and they mesh. Witness the two Bergenheim goals that have come off a drop pass from Moore from behind the goal line after a give-and-go.

"With the passes (Moore has) made and the work he's made, that's the biggest reason I've scored so many goals," Bergenheim said. "The chemistry we have is good."

And invaluable when an opponent is set on not allowing players such as Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis to beat it.

"If you want to win, it's because guys like that are stepping up," coach Guy Boucher said of his third line. "You never expect those guys to step it up as much, and that's what makes the difference."

LEADER: Boucher said he is not surprised Downie entered Saturday tied for second in the playoffs in points and leading Tampa Bay with nine. He said the right wing, known more for penalty minutes, is a better player than people realize.

"He's a very smart hockey player," Boucher said. "His best thing is he can make plays under pressure. That's a quality not a lot of guys have."

FOUL: Boucher wasn't happy the league did not hand out supplementary discipline to Capitals LW Jason Chimera for his Game 1 elbow to the back of D Pavel Kubina's head.

"It would be wise for me not to comment," Boucher said when asked what he thought of the hit that knocked Kubina's head off the glass and the defenseman out of the game.

GM Steve Yzerman said he was told by Mick McGeough, the NHL officiating supervisor for the series, the league was satisfied with the on-ice roughing call and no further action would be taken.

Chimera said, "I thought it was a clean hit." Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau acknowledged Chimera's elbow was out but said he had not expected extra discipline.

ODDS AND ENDS: Forwards Nate Thompson and Adam Hall and D Eric Brewer did not skate for what the team called body maintenance. F Dana Tyrell (foot) also did not skate. … Boudreau said rookie D John Carlson, injured in Game 1, likely will play Game 2 tonight.

Tampa Bay Lightning's third line a key to team's playoff success 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 8:22pm]
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