Vinny Lecavalier stood at the left post and deftly slipped a puck between his legs, followed quickly by his stick before snapping off a deceptive shot on goal.

That particular play occurred early in the second period of Wednesday's Game 1 against Pittsburgh and only a brilliant save by Marc-Andre Fleury prevented the puck from getting into the net. But immediately following the between-the-legs attempt, flashbacks began to flutter through the minds of those around in 2004 when Lecavalier had a similar play against Montreal that found the net in the dying seconds of Game 3 that sent the game into overtime.

The Lecavalier who made that play in 2004 looks an awful lot like the Lecavalier from Wednesday night.

"When Vinny put that stick between his legs and almost scored, it reminded me immediately of that game in Montreal in the 2004 series. He scored just like that,'' said defenseman Pavel Kubina, who was with Tampa Bay in 2004. "This time it was so close, it was just a lucky save and you know, I see the same guy.''

The return of Lecavalier as a dominant force comes at the ideal time for Tampa Bay heading into tonight's Game 3 against Pittsburgh with the series tied.

But the better part of the past two seasons, Lecavalier appeared to be a bit of a lost soul looking for direction. Amid off-ice turmoil surrounding the ownership situation, plenty of headline drama once the ownership was in place and clouded by constant rumor-mill talk of being dealt, Lecavalier looked like a shadow of his previous self.