Trio will turn the other cheek

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:07 PM ET


 TAMPA -- It had all the makings of trouble.

 Times three.

 In the third period of Tuesday's Stanley Cup final opener, Shean Donovan, Ville Nieminen and Marcus Nilson were all sent to the ice in a heap after falling victim to penalized hits.

 Nilson was the victim of a Cory Stillman charge, complete with a jump and forearm to the head. He was dazed for a spell but returned later.

 Moments later, Nieminen was drilled into the boards head first by Andre Roy. He, too, returned to the bench woozy but returned to action.

 Donovan took a butt-end to the chops from Ruslan Fedotenko but didn't appear worse for wear in the elation of the Game 1 victory.

 "I don't know if they were targetting us, if that's their game plan. I don't know," said Nieminen.

 None of the three took part in yesterday's optional practice and the team will not discuss whether any were suffering any ill effects.

 Besides, said Nieminen, the Flames don't have time to concern themselves over any perceived high jinks from the opposition.

 Nieminen was also flagged for a foolish penalty, a roughing infraction early in the third period, a powerplay chance Tampa Bay on which capitalized.

 "It's always a department we can get better," Nieminen said about his team's discipline.

 "In our locker-room, there's no pointing of fingers but I knew in my heart (what I did) didn't belong in Flames hockey."

 Of course, you can expect more and more nastiness as the teams get to know each other.

 Nieminen, however, said he and his teammates are busy concerning themselves about a rising intensity from a Lightning squad that will do all it can to not fall behind by a 2-0 edge.

 "After a loss, teams bounce back a lot harder and know what they did wrong," he said. "In this business, teams are getting better after each loss."


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