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Canadiens Can't Stop Lightning

Lecavalier scores twice to lead Tampa Bay to a 4-0 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

April 24, 2004|From Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Vincent Lecavalier broke out of his playoff scoring slump in his first postseason game against the team he grew up idolizing.

Lecavalier had two goals and an assist Friday night to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the opener of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Nikolai Khabibulin looked unbeatable again, stopping 21 shots to post his fourth shutout of the playoffs.

Lecavalier, a native of Montreal who celebrated his 24th birthday this week, didn't have a goal in 12 playoff games, dating to Game 4 of the first-round victory over Washington last year.

He hadn't had an assist in seven games, although the drought hardly slowed down the top-seeded Lightning in its first-round series against the New York Islanders.

NHL scoring champion Martin St. Louis, who grew up in the Montreal suburb of Laval, Quebec, had assists on the Lightning's first three goals.

The seventh-seeded Canadiens were coming off a first-round series in which they won Game 7 on the road over second-seeded Boston to complete the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the team's history.

Jose Theodore gave up Tampa Bay's first goal to Ruslan Fedotenko when he was caught out of position after bending down to pick up his stick early in the second period.

Lecavalier scored on a deflection late in the period, then made it 3-0 when he sent a shot between Theodore's legs just under four minutes into the third.

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