Lightning must deal with suddenly surging Sens
SENATORS (24-34-9) at LIGHTNING (38-21-8)
TV: RDS, SNET-OTT (HD), SUN (HD)
Last 10: Ottawa 6-4-0; Tampa Bay 4-4-2
Season series: Second of four meetings this season. Adam Hall and Martin St. Louis scored third-period goals to rally Tampa Bay to a 2-1 win in Ottawa on Jan. 8. Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves for the Lightning. The final three matchups between these teams will occur in a span of 19 days.
Big story: As the Lightning battle the Capitals for first place in the Southeast Division, it might seem like an advantage that they have two more games left against last-place Ottawa than Washington does. Except the Senators have been no pushovers since acquiring goalie Craig Anderson from Colorado at the trade deadline. Since then they've beaten Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia and won on the road earlier this week against a New Jersey team that entered on a 20-2-2 run.
Senators: In the front end of two games in the Sunshine State in as many nights, Ottawa once again relied on Anderson and a pair of third-period goals by second-year defenseman Erik Karlsson to record a 2-1 win in Florida on Thursday. Karlsson scored at 11:12 and 14:50 and Anderson shut out another of his former teams until Clay Wilson scored with 4:13 remaining.
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"It's great to get two points and get the win and coming into an old barn, I used to play on the other side, that means a little bit more," Anderson said. "There's not a whole lot of guys on that team that I've played with, but I do still know some on that team. It's good to shut those guys down and come out of here with a 'W.'"
St. Louis never got the opportunity to take the ice when Tampa Bay went into a shootout against Washington and ultimately lost 2-1 on Monday. Lightning coach Guy Boucher made sure he was out there when Wednesday's game against the Blackhawks also went to the penalty-shot tiebreaker, and St. Louis used a highlight-reel, spin-o-rama move to beat Corey Crawford and earn Tampa Bay the second point in a 4-3 victory.
"I find that I have more success when I have fun with it," St. Louis said. "If I try to keep it simple, I beat myself. There was no pressure, I just didn't want to be scared of not scoring. I just wanted to go after it."
Anderson has one shutout and has allowed just a single goal in six of his other eight starts with the Senators. … St. Louis and Steven Stamkos each have 1 goal and 2 assists over the past two games for the Lightning.
Ottawa forwards Daniel Alfredsson
(back), Milan Michalek
(foot) and defenseman Matt Carkner
(knee) are out indefinitely. Forward Peter Regin
is out for the season following left shoulder surgery. … Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie is day-to-day with a knee injury. Defenseman Randy Jones is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain. Forward Ryan Malone (abdominal) is on injured reserve.
Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar
picked up the 500th assist of his career on Karlsson's second goal Thursday. … St. Louis has at least a point in 10 of the Lightning's last 11 home games, compiling 4 goals and 10 assists over that span.
After starting Monday's shootout with Dominic Moore and Hall before turning to captain Vincent Lecavalier for the third and final attempt, Boucher brought out the big guns right from the start against Chicago. It was Lecavalier followed by Stamkos and St. Louis, and the latter of the three delivered.
"They knew in advance and I had them practice," Boucher said. "They were prepared and they went with their best moves. I congratulated them."