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Tampa Bay closer to playoffs after 4-3 victory

3/8/2003

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning took another big step
forward.

Fredrik Modin scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:31 to play as
the Lightning erased a three-goal deficit and beat the Colorado
Avalanche 4-3 Friday night.

''We've always talked about where we're trying to go as a hockey
club,'' Lightning coach John Tortorella said. ''You need to go back
on something to feed off. I think it's definitely one of those
games.''

Tampa Bay has not made the playoffs since 1996. After the game,
team president Ron Campbell and general manager Jay Feaster
exchanged high-fives outside the locker room.

''That was a huge win for the organization,'' Tortorella said.
''This year, that's probably the best win we've had.''

The Lightning, sixth in the Eastern Conference, closed to a point of Southeast Division-leading Washington. Tampa Bay has never
won a division title.

''We're climbing that little hill right now to see how good this
team really can be,'' Tampa Bay's Tim Taylor said. ''The playoffs
are looming. We're very close.''

The Lightning's Dave Andreychuk scored his 610th goal to tie
Bobby Hull for 11th place on the NHL's career list. Dan Boyle and
Ruslan Fedotenko had second-period goals.

Alex Tanguay had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak
to 16 games for Colorado. He has 10 goals and 26 points during his
streak -- the longest in the NHL this season.

''It's a tough loss,'' Tanguay said. ''We're up three-zip and we
sat back. They took advantage of it.''

Colorado, 16-2-2-2 in its past 22 games, have lost just
twice in 13 road games (9-2-1-1). It's the first time Colorado lost
in regulation when leading after two periods (23-1-5-2).

Modin scored the go-ahead goal during a goal-mouth scramble.

Tampa Bay is 5-17-6-2 when it trails after 40 minutes.
Over the previous five seasons, Tampa Bay went 4-84-17-1.

''It's a turnaround game again,'' Modin said. ''It's definitely
a boost to our confidence.''

Andreychuk had tied it at 3-all with a wraparound backhander on
the power play with 10:05 left in the game.

Colorado scored three goals on its first 10 shots against
Nikolai Khabibulin to take a 3-0 lead.

Rob Blake and Tanguay scored 14 seconds apart early in the first
period. Blake opened the scoring at 3:39, and Tanguay recorded his
20th goal on a wrist shot from the left circle at 3:53. Joe Sakic
picked up his 800th assist on Blake's goal.

Milan Hejduk made it 3-0 on his 40th goal at 12:49. He has 12
goals and 21 points during his second 13-game point streak of the
season.

''I think that was our best start to a game in a long time,''
Hedjuk said. ''Obviously, it was not really good for us.''

Boyle made it 3-1 at 3:36 of the second, and Fedotenko made it a
one-goal game when he scored on the power play at 15:57. The
Avalanche had killed 17 consecutive short-handed situations, and 37 of
39, before Fedotenko's goal.

''We didn't handle it well in the second and third period,''
Colorado coach Tony Granato said. ''We've got to put this one
behind us.''

The Lightning nearly got the tying goal on an early third-period
power play. Colorado defenseman Martin Skoula blocked Vincent
Lecavalier's slot shot after goalie David Aebischer was caught
behind the net after a bad clearing attempt.

Game notes
A section of glass in the Lightning coaches box was broken
during a victory celebration. ... Colorado defenseman Adam Foote (hamstring)
missed his second consecutive game. He is day to day. ... Fedotenko
returned after missing the past five games with a broken finger
tip. ... Colorado goalie Patrick Roy, 7-9-1 against Tampa Bay, was given
the night off. ... Colorado center Peter Forsberg had an assist and has
a seven-game point streak (11 assists and 13 points). ... Lightning
center Vaclav Prospal has an eight-game point streak (seven assists, 11
points) after assisting on Boyle's goal.