GAME: Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; Senators lead 2-1.
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT.
Playing with a heavy heart, defenseman Wade Redden gave the Ottawa Senators a critical emotional boost to help regain control of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Redden looks to have another stellar game before flying back to Saskatchewan to attend his mother's memorial services as the teams play Game 4 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The veteran defenseman did not play in Game 2 on Sunday, traveling to be with his family after the death of his mother the previous day.
But Redden put aside his personal loss as best he can and made a significant contribution to Ottawa's 8-4 win Tuesday that helped Ottawa regain home-ice advantage.
"I obviously wanted to play real well and I was able to come out and do some things, and I was pretty happy about that," Redden said, adding that being back around the team was helping him cope with the situation.
"I think sometimes it's a little easier. Your mind is kind of clear; it's been going through a lot of things. But when you just think about hockey and get out here, it's a lot easier just to focus on the game."
Redden had a power-play goal and two assists. His goal 8:40 into the game gave the Senators a 2-0 lead, and he added a second-period assist on Martin Havlat's second goal of the game and on a power-play tally by Dany Heatley in the third period.
"The way he came back, it was unbelievable. That's all I can say about him. His focus was right on the game," teammate Chris Neil said. "It was a way for him to get away from it all, even if it's for three hours. The guy is the leader in this dressing room and has been an important player."
Havlat - who played just 18 games in the regular season due to a broken right shoulder - had two goals and an assist while Jason Spezza had four assists.
"We were more passive in the first two games. We kind of laid back and allowed a lot of time and space for the skill players on their team to attack us," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "I thought tonight we were quicker and tried to challenge more."
The Senators also showed a willingness to play physical as both Heatley - a 50-goal scorer - and 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara got into third-period fights with the game well in hand.
Chara got the best of Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier in his skirmish and could have done more damage had he followed through on a right hand he menacingly held over Lecavalier.
"We said to ourselves we have to play hard and fight for every inch on the ice," Chara said.
Tampa scored three power-play goals, but has struggled with the man advantage. Two of the Lightning's power-play goals have come on 5-on-3 situations, leaving them 2-for-21 (9.5 percent) on 5-on-4s.
"We played a little bit nervous and made some mistakes that burned us," Tampa Bay's Brad Richards said. "But it's over with. We've had stinkers before and we'll have them again. It's how you rebound."
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Senators - 113 points; 1st seed. Lightning - 92 points; 8th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Havlat, 4 goals; Spezza, 6 assists and 7 points; Andrej Meszaros, 12 PIM. Lightning - Martin St. Louis, 3 goals; Richards, 4 assists and 5 points; Pavel Kubina, 22 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 42.9 percent (6 for 14). Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (19 for 23). Lightning - Power play: 17.4 percent (4 for 23). Penalty killing: 57.1 percent (8 for 14).
GOALTENDERS: Senators - Ray Emery (2-1, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA); Mike Morrison (no appearances). Lightning - John Grahame (1-2, 0, 4.46); Sean Burke (0-0, 0, 5.81).
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