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Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-7-0); Ottawa (7-3-0)
Season Series: Tonight marks the fourth and final contest between the Lightning and Senators this season. Neither Tampa Bay nor Ottawa has won in the other team’s home arena this season, but the Senators have taken two of the first three matches from the Lightning. Tampa Bay, however, has earned points in two of the first three, with a win on Oct. 29 before falling in overtime on Nov. 5.
The Big Story: Ottawa comes into tonight’s game as winners of seven out of the last eight, but Steven Stamkos will attempt to halt Ottawa as he continues his pursuit of a 50- goal season. Stamkos kept pace with league leaders Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, each with 48, in the team’s last game on Tuesday, as he recorded his 47th of the year, which leaves him three away with as many games remaining in the regular season.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay continues to wrap up the last home stand of the year before the team wraps up its regular season in Sunrise, FL on Sunday. The team has been disappointed with its performance in recent games, but remains optimistic about finishing the season strong with a string of wins. The Lightning fell to the Hurricanes on Tuesday, despite a valiant comeback, which brought the game within two goals in the final period. Brandon Bochenski scored twice, Stamkos and Teddy Purcell added goals, while Andrej Meszaros contributed a goal and an assist. Zenon Konopka also had 12 penalty minutes in the contest to become the franchise’s single-season record holder for most in a season with 260. Ryan Malone returned to the lineup after missing 12 games due to injury and added an assist as well.
SENATORS – Ottawa arrives at its final destination on a three-game road trip before the team heads back home to conclude the regular season on Saturday against Buffalo. The Senators come into tonight on a hot streak, winning seven out of their last eight. The team traveled to Tampa yesterday up from Sunrise, where it defeated the Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday. Mike Fisher scored twice for Ottawa, and Chris Neil, Jarkko Ruutu and Erik Karlsson also had goals as they helped their captain Daniel Alfredsson celebrate his 1,000th career game with a win. Pascal Leclaire added 32 saves.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has 22 goals and 20 assists in his last 32 games, and has scored 57 goals since Mar. 6, 2009. Martin St. Louis has also recorded five goals and 14 assists in his last 18. Steve Downie has points in five out of his last eight and Mike Lundin comes in with points in four out of his last seven.
- Ottawa has been led by Daniel Alfredsson who has three goals and 12 assists in his last 11 games. Jason Spezza has 12 points in his last six, while Peter Regin has tallied seven points in eight games. Erik Karlsson also has nine points in his last six for the Senators.
Quotable: “You’ve got to find something, whether it’s for yourself, your teammates or the fans. There should always be some motivation, and if there isn’t, then why are we even playing? You’ve got to play hard. We’re professionals and that’s your job. You get paid to do that, so you’ve got to find some sort of motivation.” – Steven Stamkos
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