Lightning try to build momentum in home test vs. SensMar 29, 2011 - 3:31 PM
Tampa Bay tries to win consecutive games for the first time this month as it takes on the Ottawa Senators tonight at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Lightning are just 3-6-4 in March since ending February on a three-game winning streak. They are coming off a split of a home-and-home with the Hurricanes, winning 4-2 on Saturday at Raleigh to snap a four-game slide (0-2-2).
Simon Gagne had two goals, Dominic Moore netted the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Martin St. Louis light the lamp to go along with an assist for the Lightning, who lost 4-3 at home to the Hurricanes on Friday.
"It feels good," said Vincent Lecavalier, who had two assists. "We played 60 minutes, played hard, played physical and did a lot of good things. Now we have to carry it over to the next game."
This next game could get fifth-place Tampa Bay into the playoffs. With 91 points, the Lightning can secure their first playoff berth in four seasons with a victory tonight and a regulation loss by ninth-place Carolina at Washington this evening.
The Lightning, though, trail the Capitals by seven points for first place in the Southeast Division with seven contests left and a game in hand.
While Gagne has picked up consecutive two-goal games and has six tallies and 10 points over his last six games, Steven Stamkos has matched a season-worst drought by going six straight games without a goal. He has just three tallies in his past 21 games and is now second in the NHL with 43 goals.
Tampa would love a repeat of Stamkos' finish to last season, when he scored eight goals over his final nine games -- including five in his last four -- to end the season with an NHL high-tying 51 goals.
Mike Smith made 33 saves in net on Saturday, but could give way tonight to Dwayne Roloson, who is 4-6-2 with a tie and 2.45 goals-against average lifetime versus Ottawa.
Ottawa will look to play spoiler again tonight as it sits last in the East with 68 points, one back of Florida. The Senators had won four of their last five, including an overtime win over Tampa Bay on March 19, prior to Sunday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Thrashers.
Craig Anderson made 43 saves and stopped the first three skaters he faced in the tiebreaker before yielding Andrew Ladd's goal in the fourth round. Ryan Shannon then saw his chance turned aside to end the game.
Marek Svatos scored twice and Jason Spezza had an assist to give him four goals and 10 helpers in his past 12 games for the Sens, who lost the opener of a three-game road trip.
"We just turned the puck over too many times. We didn't manage the puck as well as we had in the past," Senators head coach Cory Clouston said.
Spezza has points in seven straight versus the Lightning (5 goals, 5 assists) and has scored in his last four games against them. That includes the overtime winner in the last meeting that was Ottawa's second straight in this series.
The Senators also posted a 2-1 victory at Tampa Bay on March 11 to halt a two- game slide there.
Anderson is 3-1-2 with a 1.36 GAA lifetime when facing the Lightning.
Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson, who hasn't played since Feb. 7 due to a lower back issue, practiced with the Sens on Monday, but it is still unknown if he will return this season.
- OTTAWA: 2
TAMPA BAY: 5
Mar 29 10:10 PM
- Tampa Bay Empty Net Goal - Steven Stamkos (44), at 19:26.
Senators 2, Lightning 5 3rd - 0:34Mar 29 10:07 PM
- Ottawa Short-Handed Goal - Milan Michalek (17), from Filip Kuba and Jason Spezza at 15:15.
Senators 2, Lightning 4 3rd - 4:45Mar 29 9:59 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Dominic Moore (17), from Dana Tyrell at 11:27.
Senators 1, Lightning 4 3rd - 8:33Mar 29 9:49 PM
- Ottawa Goal - Jason Spezza (17), from Colin Greening and David Hale at 10:03.
Senators 1, Lightning 3 3rd - 9:57Mar 29 9:42 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Martin St. Louis (29), from Simon Gagne at 5:48.
Senators 0, Lightning 3 3rd - 14:12Mar 29 9:35 PM
- OTTAWA: 0
TAMPA BAY: 2
End of 2nd
Mar 29 9:08 PM
- Martin St. Louis backhand shot hit the goalpost.
Senators 0, Lightning 2 2nd - 12:35Mar 29 8:43 PM
- Tampa Bay Goal - Martin St. Louis (28), from Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne at 3:15.
Senators 0, Lightning 1 2nd - 16:45Mar 29 8:35 PM
- OTTAWA: 0
TAMPA BAY: 0
End of 1st
Mar 29 8:12 PM
- Nate Thompson slap shot on Curtis McElhinney.
Mar 29 7:40 PM
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