Former Bolts return to Tampa

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Three former Bolts returned to Tampa to score a win with the Rangers. (Photo by Bryan Levine / [email protected])

Nostalgia was in the air Saturday night, as three key pieces to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2003-04 Stanley Cup championship team returned to the St. Pete Times Forum as members of the opposing New York Rangers.

Head coach John Tortorella, Ruslan Fedotenko and the newly acquired Brad Richards returned to Tampa to beat the Lightning 4-2.

Tortorella, who has been using different lines to start games this season, sent Richards out to take the opening face-off, with Fedotenko at his side.

“I’ve been here at least eight times since we’ve won the cup,” said Fedotenko. “Its always good to be back in this building, especially with guys you shared special moments with.”

Richards lit the lamp late in the third period for an empty net goal — his tenth of the season.

“It was neat being back here with Torts and Feds,” said Richards. “It was nice to have been able to score along with Feds.”

Richards not only finds himself in the top-three on many of the Lightning’s all-time stats, including goals, assists and points, but he won the Conn Smythe trophy for being the MVP of the ’04 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It was the first win I had back here, and I really really wanted it. It was a good feeling,” said Richards. “The way it ended here was very frustrating, so I’m very happy to get the win.

Just three days before the trade deadline of the 2007-08 season, Richards found himself suddenly a member of the Dallas Stars as a part of a blockbuster trade.

“I think [Richards] feels good about this win,” said Tortorella. “The people that moved him had no clue. I was in the meetings, I watched it happen. I thought they jammed it to him, and it affected the organization.”

Tortorella didn’t let the anticipation of facing the team he once led to 239 victories get in the way of his team’s goals. The Rangers are currently riding a five game win streak, and have won 12 of their last 14.

“I’ve been gone long enough that I just don’t look at it that way anymore,” said Tortorella about being excited to return to Tampa. “Once you start playing, as a coach, we’re just going about our business.”

Along with Richards, Fedotenko was able to get in on the scoring against his former mates, as he tied the game up at one a piece in the second period, on a goal that was assisted by Richards.

“It feels great scoring, but it feels better to win the game and get two points,” said Fedotenko.

The three former Bolts will play the Lightning again Thursday, this time at Madison Square Garden.