Season Series: It’s the first of four meetings between the teams. Tampa Bay took three of four matchups from Ottawa last season, but split a pair of games played at ScotiaBank Place with one win and a loss.
The Big Story: Both Tampa Bay and Ottawa carry losing streaks into Monday's matchup, and both are on the outside of playoff contention looking in. The Lightning, currently 13th in the East, seek to end a three-game skid, while Ottawa comes in at the conference’s ninth spot having lost four of its past six.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay opens up a four-game road trip against the Senators that will see the team play three Atlantic Division opponents in a row following Monday’s contest at ScotiaBank Place. It’s not as if the club’s situation will get any easier following the current swing, as it plays seven of its next nine games on the road as well. The Lightning find themselves with three straight losses for the first time since the second week of the season. Despite several hard-fought efforts, fast and aggressive play, and recently, several good starts to open games, the chances just haven’t been going in for Tampa Bay as of late. Another match that could have gone either way turned in to another defeat on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, as the Lightning held a 2-1 lead in the third period, but fell to the New York Rangers 4-2. Steve Downie and Tom Pyatt scored for the Lightning to give their team the one-goal advantage heading into the final 20 minutes, but a pair of defensive mistakes yielded three unanswered Rangers goals that earned the Blueshirts an important road win. It was New York's first win of the season after trailing for two periods, and Tampa Bay's first loss when leading after two frames.
SENATORS – Ottawa returns home to host the Lightning in the first of two matches comprising the club’s current two-game home stand. Much like Tampa Bay, the Senators have been struggling as of late, but will take some encouraging signs from a stretch in which they played nine of its past 10 games in front of an opposing crowd. Ottawa posted a 5-3-2 mark over that stretch and outscored its opponents in that span, but now looks to improve on that as it gets ready for a home stand that has them set to play 11 of the next 15 games at ScotiaBank Place. The team would have liked to return home on a note with more upside following Saturday’s 3-2 loss in overtime to the Washington Capitals. Defenseman Erik Karlsson erased a one-goal deficit to send a tie game into the final period, where the teams traded goals to force extra time. Brooks Laich ended it just 12 seconds into the overtime session with a shot past Craig Anderson, who made 32 saves for Ottawa.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos appears to be on pace for another Rocket Richard Trophy-winning season, as he comes in tied for the NHL lead in goals with 16, including 10 of which have come in his past 13 games. Ottawa’s Milan Michalek comes in riding a three-game goal streak with four in that span, while Daniel Alfredsson has an assist in all but one of his past five games.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve)
SENATORS – Filip Kuba (upper body), Nikita Filatov (broken nose) and Peter Regin (shoulder, placed on Injured Reserve).
Notable Quotable: “It's very difficult for us to get a breather. We don't have a breather. We're right in the mix of things. What's hard is when you start the year on the road all the time, it's very difficult to get confidence. Just like last year, we’ve got to give everything to give ourselves a chance to win.” – Guy Boucher, and his thoughts on how his team faces a tough challenge playing seven of the next nine games on the road
Connections: Lightning forward Ryan Shannon spent three seasons in Ottawa from 2008-2011 before being acquired by Tampa Bay this past summer...Ottawa's Zenon Konopka skated in 81 games for the Bolts between 2008-09 and 2009-10, amassing 294 PIMs...Senators defenseman Filip Kuba and Ottawa assistant Luke Richardson are also a one-time Bolts.
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