Lightning need more from blue line

Tampa Bay won't make it to the Stanley Cup finals without squeezing out more from their blue-liners.

Updated: May 21, 2004, 3:08 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
Many individuals on the Tampa Bay Lightning have responded well to playoff pressure by coming up with big performances in the postseason.

Whether it's Vincent Lecavalier's intensity and goal scoring, Brad Richards' clutch goal scoring, Martin St. Louis' consistency and tenacity, Dave Andreychuk's leadership, Ruslan Fedotenko's contributions or Nikolai Khabibulin's splendid goaltending, many Lightning players who needed to prove themselves have stepped up and led the team to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday against Philadelphia.

Conspicuously absent from that abbreviated list was any defenseman because Tampa Bay won't make it to the Stanley Cup finals without squeezing out more from their blue-liners. This isn't to say that the Lightning defensemen have been bad. They haven't, but they also haven't been as good as they need to be to help the team reach the next level.


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