Polite as ever, Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier asked a reporter if he minded that he probably would not read the article for which he was being interviewed.

Lecavalier said he is trying to avoid distractions, and he held up his hands, like blinders, at the sides of his head.

"I just want to stay focused," he said.

You can forgive Lecavalier for being protective of his "A" game. It has, after all, been so long since anyone saw it.

Lecavalier said he is playing his best hockey since 2007-08, when he had 40 goals, 92 points and was a consistent difference-maker. And with 10 goals and 16 points in his past 16 games, Lecavalier, 30, is reminding people he once was regarded as one of the best players in the world.

He also is putting behind him two seasons in which he struggled on the ice, with injuries and, more than he admits, apprehension about his future as trade rumors flew under previous ownership and management.

In other words, it is the perfect time for tonight's game at the Bell Centre with the Canadiens.

"It's always better to come back to Montreal when you have good things to say," said Lecavalier, who grew up in the Ile Bizard suburb. "The last couple of years have been tough with the team and myself, and the reporters coming to talk to you. It's always nice to come here feeling good about what we do."

Lecavalier's previous two seasons were forgettable; his 53 goals and 137 points were dwarfed by the two seasons before that in which he had 92 goals (including a league-best 52 in 2006-07) and 200 points.