Players will often say that the key going into the playoffs is not necessarily about seeding but it’s about momentum.
The Lightning and Penguins each go into game 1 with some. Tampa Bay enters the playoffs 7-1 in their last 8 games and on a 2 game winning streak, while Pittsburgh concluded the regular season on a 4 game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Does either team have an edge going in after the team’s previous meeting on March 31, a 2-1 Lightning win?
The sense is the victory was a momentum booster for the Lightning who believe that they beat the Penguins at “Pittsburgh’s” game.
Meanwhile, the vibe from Pittsburgh’s standpoint has been that other than the slow start, they controlled the play for much of the game.
Both teams appear to feel pretty about their ability to matchup against each other.
With this matchup looking likely for weeks now, the Penguins heavily scouted the Lightning over the past 10-14 days.
Pittsburgh enters the 2011 playoffs with 15 players who have Stanley Cup rings to the Lightning’s 3.
Despite Tampa Bay making their first post-season appearance since 2007, don’t look for Pittsburgh’s playoff experience factor of late to be any kind of advantage.
This is a veteran Lightning group with the likes of Marty St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, and Pavel Kubina who have earned rings, along with proven playoff performers such as Simon Gagne, Dwayne Roloson and Ryan Malone.