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Senators-Lightning Preview

Saturday, 04.29.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Senators-Lightning Preview
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Ottawa Senators

GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; Senators lead 3-1.

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

The Ottawa Senators look to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning from the playoffs and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals when the teams meet at Scotiabank Place.

The top-seeded Senators hold a 3-1 lead in the quarterfinals, and are trying to advance to the semis for the first time since 2002-03 and just the fourth time in nine postseason appearances.

"We've put ourselves in a good spot, but it's not said and done. We've still got to finish it off," Senators rookie goaltender Ray Emery said after Ottawa's 5-2 win on Thursday. "We realize at home is our best opportunity to do that. We've just got to refocus for that game."

Emery made 30 saves to continue his solid play, Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists, and Martin Havlat and Jason Spezza each added a goal and an assist in Game 4.

Havlat, who missed 58 contests in the regular season with a dislocated shoulder, has scored in each game of the series for a team-leading five goals. Chris Neil and Chris Phillips also scored Thursday, but Phillips will be a game-time decision Saturday after suffering a lower-body injury.

The Senators trailed 2-1 after the first period Thursday, but scored four unanswered goals en route to their 11th win over the Lightning in the last 12 meetings.

"We don't want to go down to Florida again, there's no question," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We have to have the mindset that this Game 5 is the biggest game of the year for us. If we have that mindset, I think we'll come out strong in the first period and set the tone right away."

The Lightning tried to set the tone early Thursday with goals from Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards as they outshot the Senators 13-7 in the first period and 32-25 for the game.

Shaky goaltending hindered Tampa Bay again, however, as John Grahame allowed four goals on 17 shots in the first two periods before being replaced by Sean Burke, who let up one goal on eight shots. Grahame has given up nine goals on 37 shots over the last two games.

"I'm getting tired of the 25 percent rule," said Lightning coach John Tortorella, who plans to start Burke in Game 5. "It's deflating."

St. Louis leads the team with four goals this postseason and has 20 goals and 20 assists in 38 playoff games, while Richards has seven points in the series and 14 goals and 24 assists in 38 postseason contests.

Tampa Bay is trying to avoid a first-round exit for the second time in its four postseason appearances.

Game 6, if necessary, will be Monday in Tampa.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Lightning - 92 points; 8th seed. Senators - 113 points; 1st seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - St. Louis, 4 goals; Richards, 5 assists and 7 points; Pavel Kubina, 24 PIM. Senators - Havlat, 5 goals; Spezza, 7 assists and 9 points; Andrej Meszaros, 14 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Lightning - Power play: 14.8 percent (4 for 27). Penalty killing: 61.1 percent (11 for 18). Senators - Power play: 38.9 percent (7 for 18). Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (23 for 27).

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Burke (0-0, 4.71 GAA); Grahame (1-3, 4.79). Senators - Emery (3-1, 2.77); Mike Morrison (no appearances).

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 29 '06TBL 2 at OTT 3M. Havlat
Apr 27 '06OTT 5 at TBL 2D. Heatley
Apr 25 '06OTT 8 at TBL 4A. Vermette
Apr 23 '06TBL 4 at OTT 3M. St. Louis
Apr 21 '06TBL 1 at OTT 4J. Spezza
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%