Tortorella: Tampa Bay's not satisfied yet

Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:28 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning's latest trip to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is a whole lot different from their debut a year ago.

"I think last year we went through the steps of being satisfied, " Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "You have to take each game at a time and each round at a time. I don't think this team will be as satisfied as we were last year."

The Lightning won't sneak up on anyone this year. Tampa Bay won the weak Southeast Division for the second straight season but also finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

That earned the Lightning a first-round matchup with the No. 8 New York Islanders. Tampa Bay dismantled the Islanders in five games in the best-of-seven series, anchored by goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who tied an NHL playoff record with three shutouts.

Next up are the Montreal Canadiens, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the Boston Bruins on Monday. Montreal won three games in Boston to stun the second-seeded Bruins.

The Canadiens have won 23 Stanley Cup titles, while the Lightning are in the second round for only the second time in their 12-year-history. Last season, Tampa Bay was knocked out of the second round by the New Jersey Devils, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

While the Canadiens were surviving three elimination games, the Lightning were home resting from the physical series with the Islanders. By the time this series gets under way, Tampa Bay will have been off for a week.

The Canadiens have three days off between games.

"Teams that win the Stanley Cup, they get those rests in between each series. It's very important," Tortorella said. "Right now, we're not looking to the Stanley Cup -- don't get me wrong -- but right now we're beat up."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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