Bolts call on Burke to save the season

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

At least Lightning goalie Sean Burke still has his sense of humour.

With Tampa on the brink of elimination vs. the Senators, the longtime NHL netminder can see through it all and laugh.

"What do you say when you're down 3-1 in a series?" Burke, who will start Game 5 tonight at Scotiabank Place, asked yesterday. "I'm not going to sit here and say we've got 'em where we want 'em.

"I would really be lying to you if I said that. But, to win a seven-game series, you have to win four games and until you lose that fourth game, then you've still got a chance.

"All I can say is there's a lot of pride in this dressing room. If we can get it to 3-2, then we're going home with a chance to tie it up. That's what we have to look at right now."

GRAHAME KEEPS COOL

With starting goalie John Grahame giving up four goals on 17 shots in Game 4's 5-2 loss, Tampa coach John Tortorella is turning to the 39-year-old Burke, who has come off the bench in the last two games of the series.

"I was always told if you haven't got anything nice to say don't say anything at all. I'm going to take that stance with this," Grahame said following yesterday's light workout at Scotiabank Place.

"This is a situation I can't control. (Tortorella) is the coach and he makes the final decisions. I have to accept it. I'm not going to sit here and cry about it. I'm going to sit on the bench and cheer for Sean Burke. I just hope we get the win."

Tortorella blasted Grahame following Thursday's loss in Tampa, saying the club needed a "g--damn save."

Tortorella said yesterday he thought goaltending was the difference in Game 4 and even changed his tune on Ottawa starter Ray Emery after labelling him the Senators' "weak spot."

"I thought Ray Emery was terrific," said Tortorella. "He made some big saves ... especially in the second period. I thought goaltending was the difference in the game. We just needed to get some big saves and we didn't.

"I want people to know that I may have said some things, but I have nothing against Johnny Grahame. I like the (SOB) because he's such a competitor. I'm not upset at John Grahame. We just need better play from our goaltender. We hope we're going to get that by putting Sean Burke in there. That's all."

But Burke is walking into a no-win (no-lose?) situation with the defending Stanley Cup champs.

"We know it's one loss and we're done ... season's over," said Tortorella.

Burke said this series turned after the Lightning scored a 4-3 comeback victory in Game 2.

"I just thought after we won Game 2 we kind of got too high on ourselves. We patted ourselves on the back a lot," said Burke.

FIRST START IN 5 YEARS

For his part, Burke hasn't started a playoff game since 2001 when he was with the Coyotes, but he's got a wealth of NHL experience and that can only help him tonight.

"It's a good challenge. You can't be nervous about it. That would be the wrong approach to take in this situation," said Burke. "You should want to have fun with it. That's the way I am going to look at it."

So Burke and the Bolts will try to have "fun" tonight and hope it leads them back to Tampa for a Game 6 on Monday.

"Right now, we just have to focus on winning one game to prolong (the series). I guess that's the best way to put it ... we just want to prolong it," said Tortorella.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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