Lightning star Marty St. Louis has been in his share of gut-wrenching, emotional games during his NHL career, with a thin line separating elation from devastation.

To the wing, the Frozen Four, the NCAA championship that comes to Tampa this week, is a perfect storm of that excitement wrapped into one with the pagentry of bands and fans making it unique.

"It's one game, do or die. It's like three Game 7s," St. Louis said. "It's pretty exciting, especially when you get close games. You see the kids giving it everything they have. It's their Stanley Cup."

St. Louis has won a Stanley Cup but still laments he never played for a national title while with Vermont. He helped lead the Catamounts to their first Frozen Four in 1996. St. Louis, ex-Lightning forward Eric Perrin and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas took Colorado College to double-overtime in the semifinals in Cincinnati — after a two-hour delay.

"The guy putting net pegs in drilled too deep, and it flooded the ice," St. Louis said. "We played on a pond pretty much."