TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- A pair of teams riding red-hot
goaltenders open the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday
when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Montreal Canadiens at the
St. Pete Times Forum.
Both the Lightning and the Canadiens won their last three
games in their quarterfinal series.
Montreal rallied from a 3-1 deficit in its first-round series
against Boston Bruins to advance to the Eastern Conference
semifinals for just the second time in six years.
Richard Zednik scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third
period and goalie Jose Theodore stopped 32 shots for his first
career playoff shutout as the Canadiens posted a 2-0 victory
over Boston in Game Seven.
Tampa Bay, which is the top-seeded team in the Eastern
Conference, rolled over the New York Islanders in the opening
round, advancing with a 3-2 overtime victory in Game Five last
Friday. Nikolai Khabibulin, who had shutouts in Games Three and
Four, made 24 saves in the decisive contest.
Hart Trophy finalist Martin St. Louis had four goals, including
back-to-back game-winners, and an assist against the Islanders.
The Lightning are in the conference semifinals for the second
time in team history after losing to the New Jersey Devils in this
round last year.
Montreal - G Theodore, has won last three starts, stopping 97 of
100 shots; C Saku Koivu, two goals, eight assists and a plus-5
rating in first round; RW Alexei Kovalev, five goals, three
assists and a plus-5 rating in first round.
Tampa Bay- LW Fredrik Modin, three goals and five assists in
first round; C Brad Richards, one goal and four assists in first
Montreal - C Jan Bulis, one goal, one assist an a minus-4 rating
in first round; LW Pierre Dagenais, no goals on 16 shots in