|OTT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||7|
|TBL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
With the Ottawa Senators on the verge of clinching a playoff berth, Dany Heatley is more than happy to share the scoring load. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis, meanwhile, is doing his best to score more goals as his team tries to secure a spot in the postseason.
The Senators look to stretch their point streak to seven games on Saturday when they visit the Lightning in the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season.
Ottawa (44-23-8) holds the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference with 96 points and could earn its 10th straight postseason appearance with a victory in this game and a New York Islanders' loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Tampa Bay (41-30-4) is sixth in the East with 86 points, just four ahead of a handful of teams battling for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Lightning trail first-place Atlanta by only two points in the Southeast Division.
Heatley likes the way his team is playing heading into the postseason as Ottawa has gone 5-0-1 in its last six games, including a 4-2 win over Florida on Thursday. The Senators' recent surge is all the more impressive considering Heatley's only goal in that span came Thursday.
Heatley, who leads Ottawa with 43 goals and 93 points, snapped a season high-tying five-game goal-scoring drought.
"It's nice to contribute but I think we've been getting production from everybody lately," said Heatley, who has four assists over the last six contests. "That's a good sign going into the playoffs."
Jason Spezza and Patrick Eaves each added a goal and an assist Thursday for the Senators, who won despite getting outshot 37-19.
"We're playing a little bit smarter, tightening up defensively, capitalizing on our chances and playing with confidence," said Spezza, who has 16 points in 11 career meetings with Tampa Bay, including 11 during a seven-game point streak.
St. Louis, the Lightning's second-leading scorer, snapped an eight-game goal-scoring drought on Thursday, scoring twice in the third period to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-1 win over New Jersey. He set a career high with 96 points and hit the 40-goal mark for the first time in his career.
"Of course there was frustration," St. Louis said. "I think it plays on your mind a bit. You've just got to not get away from your game. I think I did a little bit. I'm lucky to play with great teammates."
One of those teammates is leading scorer Vincent Lecavalier, who had an assist for his 500th career point. The Lightning center has career highs of 49 goals and 49 assists this season.
Tampa Bay is going for its first three-game winning streak in over a month following a three-game skid. The Lightning have won two of three meetings between these teams this season after Ottawa had won eight straight in the series.
Ray Emery has been in goal for all three meetings with the Lightning this season and is 3-2-0 with a 2.21 goals-against average in five career games against them. He made 35 saves Thursday to become just the second goaltender in Ottawa history to record 30 wins.
Tampa Bay's Marc Denis may be in goal for his second straight game as Johan Holmqvist was sidelined Thursday with the flu.
The Senators, concluding a four-game road trip, are 20-12-5 away from home this season.
|Mar 24 '07||OTT 7 at TBL 2||D. Heatley|
|Dec 21 '06||TBL 4 at OTT 2||P. Ranger|
|Dec 02 '06||TBL 2 at OTT 5||A. Vermette|
|Nov 26 '06||OTT 1 at TBL 3||B. Richards|