King's hat trick paces Bandits' 7-4 victory before 7,058 Butsayev line sparkles against Providence

February 24, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

After the Bandits failed on a couple of early power-play tries and longtime Baltimore nemesis Mitch Lamoureux scored for Providence midway through the first period, it looked as if it would be a long night for the home team and the second-largest crowd of the season (7,058).

Baltimore's record at the Arena (10-16-4 before last night) didn't appear to be cause for overwhelming confidence, either.

Then the Bandits began to roll, specifically the trio that has qualified lately to be tabbed the Production Line. Denny Lambert tied the game 82 seconds after the visitors took the lead and added a goal before the end of the period as the Bandits were crunching the Bruins, 7-4.

Lambert's linemates, center Slava Butsayev and left wing Steve King, were equally as productive as the Bandits were streaking away from a 2-2 tie with three straight goals in a seven-minute stretch in the second period.

Butsayev put Baltimore ahead for good early in the second period and King made a three-goal lead late in the period.

All told, the Production Line went for 13 points, six goals and seven assists, and asked about the sudden deluge, Lambert said, "You never really know what puts it together for a line.

"But, basically, it starts with the center [Butsayev] and what he does with the puck and we read off him. Both 'Kinger' and I not only are getting comfortable reading him, we're getting better and better reading each other and reacting."

Inside the last minute, Lambert and King broke free from six-man pressure by Providence and cruised up the ice. Either could have had a hat trick. Lambert passed the puck to King, who scored his third goal.

"He was ahead of me; you get the puck to the guy ahead," Lambert said. "It didn't matter who scored. All the guys on a team have to be unselfish. That's when you come together and begin playing like a team we can be."

King also had an assist, Lambert had two goals and two assists and Butsayev a goal and four assists. Shades of the Plug Line of Dwayne Norris, J. F. Jomphe and Mike Maneluk earlier in the season.

"We were talking about that. Wouldn't that be something if we had those two lines going back-to-back?" said Lambert.

"I might be able to find them some playing time," said coach Walt Kyle.

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