Playoff season is upon us, a novelty in Tampa Bay.
So to get a sense of how meaningful this time of year is in the National Hockey League, we asked the 15 Lightning players with post-season experience to share their most memorable or special playoff moment.
Here are their thoughts:
MIKAEL ANDERSSON (One goal in one playoff game for Buffalo, and 12 games with Hartford): "Last time in (1992) we (the Whalers) took Montreal to seven games, but lost in overtime. You really don't want to remember that, but I do. Tough way to lose."
BRIAN BELLOWS (Forty-one goals in 105 playoff games with Minnesota and Montreal, including a Stanley Cup championship with the Canadiens in 1993): "There are two of them. One is winning the Cup, obviously. But another, for me, is Minnesota. We finished 16th overall (in 1990-91, with a regular-season record of 27-39-14), and we beat No.
1 overall (Chicago), and No.
2 overall (St. Louis), and then we beat the defending champs (Edmonton) to go to the finals. That means a lot."
BRIAN BRADLEY (One playoff game for Calgary as a rookie, and three goals in seven games for Vancouver seven seasons ago): "I'd say the most memorable is playing in the Stanley Cup Finals _ '86 vs. Montreal. It's the Stanley Cup. Lost (Game 5) 4-3, and they present the Cup (to the Canadiens) right there. That's pretty unforgettable."
SHAWN BURR (Sixteen goals in 79 playoff games for Detroit): "It was last year, when we (the Detroit Red Wings) won (the Western Conference championship series) against Chicago at home _ hoisting the (Clarence S. Campbell) trophy around, all that. My first or second year, too, I had an overtime goal against Chicago in the (division) semifinals. It was '87, '88 _ I don't know. That was a long time ago."
JOHN CULLEN (Nine goals in 48 playoff games for Pittsburgh and Toronto): "I've played in a lot of playoff games, but I don't have one special moment. I guess I'm saving that for this year's playoffs."
BILL HOULDER (Eight playoff games for Buffalo, and one goal in four games for St. Louis): "It was probably (in 1991-92) when we finished fourth (in the Adams Division) in Buffalo, and then we swept the Bruins. (Houlder turns to former Bruin David Shaw): Wouldn't you agree, Dave? (Shaw: "Oh yeah. That's mine too.') It was supposed to go the other way around. Of course we went on to be swept (by Montreal). Oh well."
PETR KLIMA (Twenty-six goals in 85 playoff games for Detroit and Edmonton, including one Stanley Cup victory): "Obviously that goal (the game-winner at the 15:13 mark in the third overtime of Game 1 in the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals against Boston, which Edmonton won) was the biggest thrill of my career. When I scored we were all happy, but it was only the first game of the Finals. When I held the Stanley Cup over my head a week later, I felt how big that goal was."
MICHEL PETIT (One playoff game for Vancouver, and two points in four games for the New York Rangers): "I didn't make it many times. The only one I really remember is with the Rangers _ we got beat in four straight games (by Pittsburgh in 1989). Come to think of it, every series I've been in we've gotten beat. Vancouver, I was a rookie and only played in one game. Calgary, I was hurt one year and didn't even play the next. Come to think of it, the playoffs have kind of s__d for me. But it's something I definitely want to get back in."
PATRICK POULIN (Six goals in 27 playoff games for Hartford and Chicago): "It didn't turn out to be the happiest one, but it has to be going in (for Hartford in 1992) against Montreal when I was first got called up. I was 19. It was 3-3 (in the series) going into the seventh game, and we could have won that one."
DAREN PUPPA (Three victories in 11 playoff games for Buffalo, and one game for Toronto): "With Toronto, we went to the semifinals (in 1993). Lost in Game 7 to Los Angeles, but just getting to the semifinals _ beating Detroit (in the first round), going to the conference finals. Very special."
JEFF REESE (Two wins in six playoff games, one win each for Toronto and Calgary): "It had to be my first playoff game. We (the Maple Leafs) were down 3-0 in the series (first round vs. St. Louis in 1990), and (then-Toronto coach Doug) Carpenter said, "You're in.' I was like, "Wow. Okay.' We won."
DAVID SHAW (Three goals in 39 total playoff games for the New York Rangers, Minnesota and Boston): "I got a game-winner (for Boston) against New Jersey two years ago. Then last year, we're down 2-1 (first round vs. New Jersey) in games, playing overtime, and I hit the crossbar. It would have tied it 2-2 going back to Boston, but then they won in overtime, they won the series, and they go on to win the Cup. Guys give more for the playoffs, fans care more. It's great."
JOHN TUCKER (Ten goals in 29 playoff games for Buffalo and Washington): "Well, that's an easy one for me. It had to be when I scored four goals against Boston (Adams Division semifinals, 1987), then had two goals the next night. Good weekend. Really _ it's in the book. Look it up, chum."
IGOR ULANOV (Thirteen games for Winnipeg and Washington): "My first playoff game (for the Jets in 1992) _ I had heard a lot about the playoffs in the NHL, but never saw it played. But the first time, against Vancouver, it was unbelievable. It was really special. It put goose bumps on my back."
PAUL YSEBAERT (Four goals in 25 total playoff games for Detroit and Chicago): "Memorable? It ain't exciting: It's getting beat out by Toronto in overtime _ 4-3, seventh game of a first-round series in 1993). We (the Red Wings) were leading 3-1 going into the third. Not a good feeling. Memorable. Not special, but memorable. I'll never forget it _ because of all the hype. If we would have gotten by Toronto, we'd have had a good year."
_ TIM BUCKLEY