MONTREAL — The last time coach Jon Cooper was here, he stood in the bowels of the Bell Centre surrounded by cameras.The Lightning had just clinched a playoff berth by wrapping up a regular-season five-game sweep of the Canadiens on March 30. Sure, there was some satisfaction, considering Montreal had stunningly swept Tampa Bay out of the playoffs' first round in six days last spring. But to the Lightning, this didn't erase the past, nor did it remove the bitter taste in its mouth that drove the team all summer."Who knows, maybe we'll meet again," Cooper said then. "Now that would be special."Funny, and fitting, how things worked out. When the Lightning opens the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Canadiens tonight, the rematch makes some sizzling story lines. To continue its Stanley Cup run, Tampa Bay has to exorcise some demons in the very rink in which its season ended last spring. But make no mistake, this is a different Lightning team, one confident it can get a different result."I'm quite convinced that it was a lesson learned for us, how it felt in the summer and even when we came into training camp," Cooper said. "We never hung our hat on what we did last year during the regular season. We were more sitting on thorns about what happened in the playoffs. I think that's helped us now."The Lightning is more battle-tested, with many young players now having the experience of winning a playoff series, overcoming a three-games-to-two deficit against the Red Wings to win in Wednesday's thrilling Game 7. There's the half-dozen new players in its lineup, including Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman, Jason Garrison and Braydon Coburn.Most important, Tampa Bay has goalie Ben Bishop, the star of Game 7, who sat out last year's playoffs due to a dislocated elbow. He is 10-1-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average in 14 career games against Montreal, 5-0-0 with a 1.59 GAA this season. Bishop watched last season's sweep from several different spots, from an arena suite to the locker room, changing places in an effort to alter the karma."Obviously not getting to play in the playoffs last year and having the opportunity this year makes it a lot more fun," Bishop said. "It's not very fun watching."The Canadiens, having wrapped up their first-round series against the Senators on Sunday, watched the Lightning-Red Wings Game 7 at a team dinner. "The players stayed right until the end," coach Michel Therrien said. Though Montreal won the Atlantic Division by two points over Tampa Bay, it's pushing the notion that it's not the favorite in the series."This is the best offensive team in the league," Therrien said. "We are probably the only team with home-ice advantage that is an underdog."The Lightning learned the hard way last season that regular-season success means nothing in the postseason, having gone 3-0-1 against Montreal before getting swept in the first round. Tampa Bay won three of four against Detroit this season, but it took seven games to advance from the first round."It's a different season," Bishop said. "Now it's going to be up to us to show we can beat (the Canadiens) in the playoffs." Contact Joe Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow @TBTimes_JSmith .