TAMPA, Fla. – Dan Boyle returned from injury to post a pair of goals in his first game since November 3, but the Tampa Bay Lightning were unable to hold off the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. In this season’s fourth and final meeting between the clubs the Senators skated to an 8-4 win at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Nick Tarnasky recorded his third multi-point game of the season with one goal and one assist in the contest. Despite the effort, Ottawa captain and leading point-scorer Daniel Alfredsson paced his team with a hat trick and four assists.
Shortly after goaltender Martin Gerber held on to a shot from the point by Paul Ranger, Johan Holmqvist denied a shot by Chris Neil with a left pad save. Tampa Bay returned the puck up the ice on the play with Jan Hlavac looking to connect on a wrist shot, but Gerber smothered the attempt.
With a little more than six minutes remaining in the opening period Alfredsson notched his first goal of the night. Capitalizing on a turnover by Antoine Vermette at the blue line, Alfredsson snapped a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle to beat Holmqvist to the stick side.
Less than 30 seconds later Jason Spezza gave the Senators a two-goal lead with his 17th goal of the season. The Ottawa center put a shot to the glove side from the top of the slot for his first of two goals in the contest.
Alfredsson closed out the period by adding a third Senators goal with 1:18 remaining in the frame. Converting a Senators power play, Alfredsson found the back of the net on a shot from the point.
|Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis (26) pressures Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza (19) during the first period on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008, at the St. Pete Times Forum. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)|
With netminder Karri Ramo starting the second period between the pipes for Tampa Bay Alfredsson notched a shorthanded goal to extend the Ottawa lead. Vermette connected at 9:36 of the middle frame before Boyle scored to put the Lightning on the board.
As Boyle carried the puck across the blue line he skated into the slot. Splitting the Senators defense with a wrist shot, Boyle beat Gerber to the glove side for his first goal of the season.
After Vincent Lecavalier opened the final frame looking for a shot at the side of the net, the clubs exchanged four goals in a span of 3:28. Randy Robitaille posted his eighth goal of the season on a deflection in front of Ramo before Tarnasky connected for the Lightning’s second goal.
Twenty seconds after the Robitaille goal Brad Lukowich fired a shot on Gerber from the point. Gerber made the initial pad save, but Tarnasky batted the loose rebound into the side of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Dean McAmmond went on to score on a tip-in at 3:58 of the third before Craig MacDonald scored his second goal in consecutive games.
Feeding the puck out from behind the net, Andre Roy found MacDonald open in the slot. As Gerber stretched to cover the open side of the goal MacDonald put a shot high to the Ottawa netminder’s glove side.
Boyle added his second goal of the night with 4:43 remaining in the contest. After Ranger threw the puck out of the corner Boyle banged at the puck at the side of the crease. The shot slid between Gerber’s pads to give the defenseman his second goal of the season.
This season Boyle has been limited to five games due to a wrist injury. The Lightning blueliner returned to the lineup after a nearly three-month absence to record the seventh two-goal game of his career. The last time Boyle posted a pair of goals was in his last outing against Ottawa during the 2006-07 season.
Ottawa responded less than one minute later when Spezza posted his second goal in the contest. Tipping down a shot by Andrei Meszaros he closed out the scoring with his third point in the contest.
The Senators out-shot the Lightning 26-25 in the contest.
Behind the bench, John Tortorella broke the record for the most games coached by an American-born head. Coaching his 507th game, Tortorella took over Herb Brooks for the record.
The Lightning will have four days off following Thursday’s contest as the league prepares for the NHL All Star Break.
After Lecavalier, St. Louis and Mike Lundin take part in the weekend festivities, the Lightning will return to the St. Pete Times Forum for a match-up against the Buffalo Sabres. Tampa Bay continues their five-game home stand with a 7:00p.m. game against the Sabres on Tuesday, January 29 (Versus, 620 WDAE).
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