Lightning Strike Hard In Opener

Apr 23, 2004

2004 Playoffs

Nikolai Khabibulin stopped all 21 shots to post his fourth shutout of the playoffs as the Tampa Bay Lightning routed the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"He's played really well and that's the kind of goaltending you need in the playoffs," said Martin St. Louis, who had three assists. "There's no secret. You can play as well as you can, but if you don't get the goaltending, it's tough."

Vincent Lecavalier, who was held pointless by the NY Islanders in the first round, broke out of a scoring slump with two goals and an assist.

"It feels good, especially to get the first win. But it's one game. There's still three left," Lecavalier said. `I'm happy tonight. The puck went in, but we've got to keep on going."

"You've got to give credit where credit is due," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "They played a great game. As bad as we played, and as well as they did, you have to respect that. It was one of those things where Lecavalier had some success. We expected this series was not going to be an easy one."

Game Two is on Sunday in Tampa.

"It doesn't matter what me and Vinny did," Martin St. Louis said. "The bottom line is we got the win. That's the most important thing."

"We beat ourselves. There's no doubt about it. There's no other way to look at it. We need to be a lot sharper next game," Montreal's Craig Rivet said.

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