Lightning vs. Senators Preview
Monday, 02.13.2012 / 12:58 PM
The Lightning and Senators face off in the third of four total meetings on the year. Ottawa has taken each of the first two matchups thus far in 2011-12, earning a pair of victories back on Dec. 5 and Jan. 5, respectively, both in its own home area.
The Big Story:
Two teams battling for playoff spots enter Tuesday heading in opposite directions. Tampa Bay has gone 7-2-2 since Jan. 17 and continues to earn points in the standings to keep pace ahead of the Islanders and Sabres for the final playoff spot in the East. Ottawa, meanwhile, has just one win in its past nine tries and is barely hanging on to the seventh spot in the conference, as it sits just three points from dropping out of the top eight.
LIGHTNING - The Bolts return to the Tampa Bay Times Forum coming off a three-game road trip to begin a four-game home stand on Tuesday against Ottawa. The Lightning have been one of the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams for the last month, going 7-2-2 since Jan. 17, and although finding themselves in the hunt for the playoffs, still remain eight points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final postseason spot in the East. The most recent setback in what has otherwise been a successful stretch came in the team’s last outing on Sunday, in which the Bolts took an early 2-0 lead in the first period only to end up falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2. Steve Downie
had both of Tampa Bay’s goals, coming in a span of just 11 seconds, to set a new team record for the fastest two goals by a single player, while Teddy Purcell
extended a season-high point streak to four games by setting up both scores. Mathieu Garon
turned back 37 of 41 shots on the night, but yielded four consecutive Penguins goals, including three in the second period, to ultimately receive just his first regulation loss in his past nine starts in goal.
SENATORS – Ottawa kicks off a three-game road trip in Tampa Bay, with Tuesday night’s game coming as the first in a back-to-back set for the club which continues the very next night in Sunrise against the Panthers. Ottawa comes in seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, having a playoff spot secured as of Tuesday, but could be in jeopardy of losing it quite fast. The Senators have just a single win in their past nine games, earning a 4-3 win over Nashville on Feb. 9 that snapped a seven-game winless streak. The team then got right back on the losing track in its most recent outing, which came on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss to Edmonton. A trio of All-Stars including Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek each had goals in the contest, while Jason Spezza added two assists. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 36 shots in his NHL-leading 50th start this season, but gave up the game-winning goal to Oilers forward Taylor Hall just 17 seconds into overtime.
Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos
, who leads the NHL in goals with 37, has points in six of his past seven games, including five goals and 10 points in that span. Teddy Purcell
, meanwhile, is riding a four-game point streak, recording five assists over that stretch. Ottawa forward Jason Spezza has points in three straight games with two goals and four assists in that span and Milan Michalek has three points over his past two outings.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund
(knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Dana Tyrell
(ACL, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Ryan Malone
(upper body, day-to-day) and Matt Gilroy
(upper body, day-to-day).
SENATORS – Jesse Winchester (concussion, day-to-day).
“I'm not talking about the standings. The other teams we don't control. As much as I'd like to call the coaches and ask them to lose for us, it isn't going to work.” – Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher, as told to the Tampa Bay Times, on his team having to win on its own in order to keep its playoff hopes alive
Zenon Konopka is in his first year with Ottawa after spending the 2010-11 season with the New York Islanders. Konopka played 81 games with the Bolts during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, leading the league with 265 penalty minutes in 2009-10 while with Tampa Bay.Ottawa's Filip Kuba had 21 goals 47 assists over 156 games with the Lightning in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Ryan Shannon
is in his first season with the Lightning, after accumulating 24 goals and 39 assists in 180 games with the Senators over the past three seasons.