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Furious rally doesn't end successfully


Published: Wed, March 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Tampa Bay won in Pittsburgh, 5-4.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Brad Richards and Vinny Prospal beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on consecutive shots in a shootout and the Tampa Bay Lightning held off Pittsburgh's third furious but unsuccessful rally in three games, winning 5-4 Tuesday night.
Dan Boyle scored twice and the Lightning shook off a post-Olympic slump by starting a five-game road trip with their first victory in four games, though it came after they squandered a 4-1 lead in the third period.
Sidney Crosby scored his first goal since the break and assisted on another as the Penguins again fell behind by a multi-goal margin before coming back. They lost to Ottawa 4-3 last Wednesday night after trailing 4-0 and 7-5 to Ottawa on Saturday night after falling behind 5-0.
Grahame strong
This time, rookie Ryan Whitney scored his second career goal and first since Dec. 1 to tie it with 56 seconds remaining. But neither Jani Rita nor Crosby could get the puck past goalie John Grahame in the shootout, and the Lightning won it when Richards and Prospal each used inside-out moves to fake out Fleury, who had stopped initial shooter Vincent Lecavalier.
Dimitry Afanasenkov and Fredrik Modin scored in regulation for the Lightning, who were outscored 18-4 during three consecutive home losses following the Olympic layoff -- including a 4-0 loss to Ottawa on Monday night.
The Lightning couldn't have picked a better time to play the NHL-worst Penguins, who are 0-3 this season and 0-7 over the last two seasons against Tampa Bay and are 7-18-7 overall at home this season.
Despite giving up goals to Crosby, Josef Melichar and Whitney in the third, Grahame improved to 9-1-1 against Pittsburgh by turning aside 23 shots.
Whitney's goal came on a one-timer from the top of the right circle and was nearly his second of the game. He was originally credited with Pittsburgh's first goal, on a power play in the second, but it was later credited to Ryan Malone for redirecting the shot.
After starting each of the three consecutive losses by allowing their opponent to score on its first shot, the Lightning got an early goal this time -- by Boyle three minutes in, though it may have been inadvertent. He threw the puck behind the net from near the blue line, and it banked off the glass, skipped off the top of the net and off Fleury's back and into the net.
Double minor
Boyle's 13th goal of the season came early in the third and made it 4-1. With the Lightning on an extended power play resulting from Rob Scuderi's double minor near the end of the second, Boyle put in a Ryan Craig rebound.
Pittsburgh's rally began seconds after Michel Ouellet left the ice after being slammed in the mouth by Cory Sarich's stick, with the Penguins already on a power play, but with no penalty was called. Ouellet went to the locker room after picking up at least one tooth from the ice.
Immediately after play resumed, Crosby circled wide, then went hard to the net to put in a Sergei Gonchar rebound.
Notes
Each team was without a suspended player: Pittsburgh D Brooks Orpik (three games for running Carolina's Erik Cole into the boards) and Tampa Bay RW Evgeny (two games) Artyukhin for slamming a helmet into Ottawa's Antoine Vermette on Monday. ... Mark Recchi assisted on Melichar's goal, giving him 21 points in 14 games (11 goals, 10 assists. ... The shootout was the first in Pittsburgh since the Penguins split consecutive shootouts against Montreal (win) and the Islanders (loss) on Nov. 11 and 14.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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