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Post-game report: Ottawa 3 Tampa Bay 2

Saturday, 04.29.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Post-game report: Ottawa 3 Tampa Bay 2

OTTAWA (CP) - The new NHL will have a new Stanley Cup champion.

Martin Havlat's second-period tally stood as the winner Saturday night and the top-seeded Ottawa Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, making swift work of the defending Cup champs with a five-game series victory. Ottawa outscored Tampa 23-14 in the best-of-seven set.

A thunderous crowd of 20,004 at Scotiabank Place was on its feet as the final seconds ticked away, its team avoiding the first-round failures that had sometimes plagued the Sens in playoffs past.

Andrej Meszaros and Peter Schaefer also scored for the Senators, who joined the New Jersey Devils into the second round of the playoffs although the two contenders can't meet until the Eastern conference final.

Ray Emery made 26 saves and is believed to be the first rookie goalie since Brian Boucher with Philadelphia in 2000 to win a playoff series.

Brad Richards and Evgeny Artyukhin scored for the Lightning, who can blame horrible special teams for a quick first-round exit. Tampa went 4-for-31 with the man advantage in this series, including 0-for-4 on Saturday. The Lightning had two chances on the power play in the third period but couldn't deliver the tying goal.

Tampa veteran Sean Burke, in his first start of the series, stopped 35 shots and was solid as he replaced the struggling John Grahame in goal, but couldn't muster up the miracle performance head coach John Tortorella had hoped for.

The Scotiabank Place was absolutely rocking as the puck dropped to start Game 5, a sea of red Senators jerseys in the crowd sensing the franchise's first series victory since 2003.

Schaefer opened the scoring at 12:53, freeing himself up from Tampa defenceman Pavel Kubina and re-directing a perfect, cross-ice pass from Martin Havlat.

Schaefer thought he had another one with 4:39 left in the opening period but his apparent goal with Ottawa on the power play was disallowed after a review because he kicked in the puck with his right skate.

Meszaros quickly turned those boos into cheers when he blasted a point shot past Burke seconds after the nullified goal to give the Sens the 2-0 lead.

Artyukhin gave Tampa hope just 1:37 into the second period, banging home a rebound in front of Emery to make it 2-1.

A rather boring second period finally livened up when Havlat scored on the power play with 4:58 to go, taking a perfect centring pass from Dany Heatley and roofing a shot over Burke to give Ottawa the all-important 3-1 lead. It was Havlat's team-leading sixth playoff goal.

Havlat missed a glorious chance to put the game away with 2:40 left, skating in alone on a clear breakaway but Burke slammed the door with a pad save.

Richards, Tampa's best player in the series, brought it back to a one-goal deficit when his quick release from the slot beat Emery inside the post at 18:15 of the second period.

Sens fourth-line winger Vaclav Varada left the game early in the second period with an upper body injury after being hammered with a thunderous check by Artyukhin.

Notes: Defenceman Chris Phillips (lower body) was scratched for Ottawa. Christoph Schubert took his spot in the lineup ... Spezza's one assist Saturday gave him 10 points for the series, a franchise record for a playoff series, surpassing Marian Hossa's eight points against Philadelphia in 2003 ... Ottawa will not be able to open its second-round series next Saturday or Sunday because Dora the Explorer, a children's show, is booked for both days at Scotiabank Place.




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02