2007 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS STORYLINE - #7 TAMPA BAY VS. #2 NEW JERSEY
Goaltending: The Devils' Martin Brodeur enters the 2007 playoffs as the third-most-experienced goaltender in Stanley Cup playoff history (153 games), and has nearly twice as much playoff experience as the 86 total games of all the other Eastern Conference playoff goalies (Atlanta’s Johan Hedberg has played 20 games; Buffalo’s Ryan Miller 18, Pittsburgh’s Jocelyn Thibault 17, Ottawa’s Ray Emery 10, the Rangers’ Kevin Weekes 9, Ottawa’s Martin Gerber 8, the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist 3, the Sabres’ Ty Conklin 1). Neither member of the Lightning’s tandem of Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis has played in a playoff game, nor has Atlanta’s Kari Lehtonen or Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury.
Offense vs. Defense: Can Brodeur and his League third-best goals-against average (2.18) shut down two of the League's top five offensive players this season -- Rocket Richard trophy winner Vincent Lecavalier (52 goals, 108 pts.) and Martin St. Louis (43 goals, 102 pts.)?
Lots of Stanley Cup experience: The Devils have 11 players with them from the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2003, while Tampa Bay has 10 players who remain from the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning team.
Lucky 7's: A #7 seed has knocked off a #2 seed in each of the last nine post-seasons dating to 1997. The Eastern Conference #7 has knocked off the #2 six times in the last nine years, while the Western Conference #7 has beaten the #2 five times.
Playoff Offense: With 216 goals in 2006-07, the Devils are the lowest-scoring team among the 16 that qualified for post-season play. In the past five playoff seasons, only the Minnesota Wild in 2003 advanced beyond the first round after becoming the lowest-scoring regular-season team in the playoff field.
Goal Differential: The Lightning scored eight fewer goals than it allowed this season (253 vs. 261). Only one playoff team in the past five playoff seasons (Carolina, 2002) has advanced beyond the first round when surrendering more goals than it scored in the regular season.
Devils-Lightning Connection: Devils' defenseman Brad Lukowich was a member of the Lightning team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004.