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the uphill climb

Erik Erlendsson at the Tampa Tribune summarizes the challenge facing the Lightning very eloquently:


On paper, Tampa Bay's first-round opponent might as well be the 1976 Montreal Canadiens. Ottawa has won 18 of the past 21 meetings, including all four this season, and is 13-1 in the past 14 matchups in Canada's capital city.

...

As Tampa Bay has risen to one of the top team's in the league, making its third consecutive playoff appearance, it has overcome a lot of its personal dragons along the way. But the one team that continues to torch Tampa Bay is Ottawa.

The Lightning have not defeatd the Senators since March of 2003. That's quite a dark cloud hanging over the Lightning as they prepare for the best-of-seven series. Four wins in 2 weeks is a daunting task for a team that has not won four games in five years versus the forthcoming opponent.

Meanwhile, over in the Times, the following Dan Boyle quote can be read several ways:

"Ottawa? Wow," Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle said. "They've had our number for years now."

But fear not, Lightning fans... Behind every impossible challenge are all the greatest success stories.