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Lightning (38-21-8, 84 Points) vs. Senators (24-34-9, 57 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-4-2); Ottawa (6-4-0)
Season Series: This is the second of four meetings on the year. Beginning with tonight’s game, the Lightning and Senators will face off three times in the next 18 days to wrap up the season series. Tampa Bay won the first and only meeting this season with a 2-1 victory on Jan. 8 in Ottawa.
The Big Story: The Lightning snapped a season-long four-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win over the Blackhawks Wednesday night to stay within reach of the division-leading Capitals, who remain atop the Southeast standings two points ahead of Tampa Bay. It might look like a good sign of things to come with Ottawa – 15th in the East – slated on the schedule twice more after tonight, but the Senators have been no pushovers to just take lightly. Ottawa just defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers and won on the road earlier this week against a New Jersey team that entered on a 20-2-2 run.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay concludes a four-game home stand tonight and plays in the first half of a back-to-back set, as the team will travel to Sunrise immediately following tonight’s game to face off against the Panthers tomorrow night. The Lightning are riding high following a big shootout Wednesday against the Blackhawks, as they’re hoping the win will spark a wave of momentum to carry on throughout the remainder of the season as they battle Washington for the division crown. Steven Stamkos broke a six-game goal-less drought and Martin St. Louis scored in regulation and notched the shootout winner with a dazzling move to get the Bolts back on the winning side. Dwayne Roloson added 28 saves in the win, and was flawless in the tiebreaker, stopping all three Chicago shooters.
SENATORS – Ottawa will face off against Tampa Bay tonight after just having played the Panthers last night in the first half of consecutive games. The Senators won the second contest of consecutive games last night for the first time since the end of February. The Senators had alternated wins and losses in each of their last six games prior to last night’s win against the Panthers. It once again, however, relied on goaltender Craig Anderson and a pair of third-period goals by second-year defenseman Erik Karlsson to record a 2-1 win in Florida on Thursday. Karlsson scored at 11:12 and 14:50 and Anderson shut out another one of his former teams until the Panther’s Clay Wilson scored with 4:13 remaining.
Who’s Hot: Martin St. Louis has points in two straight with a goal and two assists in that span, while the team has also received strong goaltending from Dwayne Roloson, who has allowed no more than two goals in four of his last six games. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson has one shutout and has allowed just a single goal in six of his other eight starts with the Senators.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Ryan Malone (mid body, out indefinitely, placed on Injured Reserve), Steve Downie (lower body, day-to-day) and Randy Jones (lower body, out indefinitely). SENATORS – Matt Carkner (knee), Daniel Alfredsson (back), Peter Regin (shoulder, out for the season) and Milan Michalek (foot).
Notable Quotable: “There’s a difference between being scared to lose and acting on it and being hungry to win. That’s an attitude and it’s not just in regulation time and overtime, it’s in the shootout, too.” – Guy Boucher, following Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout win, while also addressing the mindset of his team
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