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Rambler's Top100

22 2006 . 
Alexeev picks up slack on offense // St.Peterburgh Times

The forward has two goals as Tampa Bay scores a season high to win on the road.

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO

WASHINGTON It was difficult to gauge Nikita Alexeevs level of excitement Saturday night.

The Lightning forward said he was pumped his two goals helped earn an important 6-4 victory over the Capitals at the Verizon Center.

But considering his voice maintained its signature monotone, you pretty much had to take his word for it.
I feel excited, Alexeev said. But without my (teammates), I wouldnt have been able to do anything.

What Alexeev did was make a statement and help Tampa Bay do the same with a season high in goals.
The Lightning needed desperately to build off Thursdays victory over the Flyers. But without top scorer Ryan Craig, out with a sprained right knee, it needed its top offensive players to get in gear.

They did in a big way with goals from Vinny Lecavalier on a shorthanded breakaway, Marty St. Louis, who was plus-3, and Brad Richards, who scored his first of the season.

Andreas Karlsson got his first Tampa Bay goal with 58.4 seconds left in the second to cap a three-goal period that erased a 2-1 deficit. And goaltender Marc Denis made 29 saves, including a dynamite stop in the first period on Alex Ovechkins breakaway.

But it was Alexeevs effort that defined Tampa Bays third win in its past four games, which evened its record at 4-4-0.

The big Russian at 6 feet 6, 227 pounds stands to gain the most playing time from Craigs injury on a line with Richards and St. Louis. He responded with his first multiple-goal game. His four goals, all in the past three games, tied his career high, and he has points in five straight games.

Asked if Craigs injury is an opportunity, Alexeev said, I dont view it as anything. I dont see who is out and who is in. Im just trying to keep focused on my game.

He played really well, coach John Tortorella said. And not just the goals and points but little things: getting the puck out, protecting the puck in the offensive zone, rotating the puck.

Alexeev stole the puck from Chris Clark before his goal 3:32 into the second period, 22 seconds after St. Louis wraparound tally, giving the Lightning a 3-2 lead.

He did his best Craig impersonation 9:04 into the third when he tipped Dan Boyles shot for a power-play goal that made the score 5-2 and was the winner.

Tortorella said he told Alexeev before the period to be in better position for tips. The power play, though 0-for-6 at that point, was moving the puck and getting shots but needed a presence in front of the net.

I told him, 'Nick, youve got to tip a puck one of these times, and he ends up scoring a goal, Tortorella said. He did a lot of good things.

So did the team.

The big guys are beginning to chip in now along with the third- and fourth-line guys who are still playing well, Tortorella said. Its a step. Its building one day at a time, one step at a time.

Its unbelievable, Alexeev deadpanned.

Well have to take his word for it.

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16 . Money Talks. Alexeev vs.St.Louis // Toronto Star.

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13 . Stint in Russia gave Alexeev strength // St.Peterburgh Times

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