OTTAWA – The Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators showed their strength on Saturday night when they hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning. As the Lightning continue their season-high four-game road trip, the Senators came back from a pair of two-goal deficits to force overtime and win, 4-3.
Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis each recorded one goal and one assist, but a two-goal night by Randy Robitaille helped lift Ottawa in the contest. Mike Fisher scored the overtime goal for his third game-winner of the season.
Jan Hlavac dekes Ray Emery for a goal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
Early in the second of four meetings between the clubs, goaltender Johan Holmqvist covered a hard-angled shot by Fisher off the goal line. Tampa Bay responded with a chance of their own when Jan Hlavac made a cross-zone pass to Brad Richards. As he skated down the right wing, Richards fired a one-timed shot but netminder Ray Emery got a piece of the puck for the save.
Despite the save, the Lightning opened the scoring less than six minutes into the game.
Netting his 16th goal of the season, St. Louis connected on a wrist shot that beat Emery through the left glove-side arm. Lecavalier fought defenseman Chris Phillips for the puck off the right side before finding Vaclav Prospal with a pass at the slot. Prospal forward the puck to St. Louis for the goal.
At 11:16 Lecavalier posted his team-leading 28th goal of the season to extend the Lightning lead, 2-0. After Paul Ranger put a shot on net from the left wing, Lecavalier skated into the slot and gained control of the rebound by pulling the puck between his legs. Moving to the backhand, Lecavalier pulled Emery to the top of his crease and slid a shot into the right side of the net.
Cutting the lead in half, Robitaille scored his first of two goals in the contest with less than one minute remaining in the opening period. Converting a drop pass by Fisher, Robitaille one-timed a shot into the top right corner of the net past Holmqvist’s glove hand.
Responding early in the second period, Hlavac scored his sixth goal of the season to regain the Lightning’s two-goal lead.
After Richards kept the puck in the zone off a turnover at the blueline, the Tampa Bay center made a pass down to Jason Ward at the left faceoff circle. Ward forwarded the pass towards the slot and Hlavac. Skating to the net Hlavac wrapped the puck around Emery for the score.
Midway through the period Richards looked to extend the Lightning lead with a shot from the right faceoff circle. Hlavac slapped a shot from the left hash marks off the rebound, but Emery held on to the puck.
On a late power play, Holmqvist made a glove save when Daniel Alfredsson flicked a shot through traffic from the left faceoff circle. Moments later the Lightning tried to set up a pair of chances but were unable to get the shots on goal.
Skating down the right wing, Lecavalier made a pass across to Ranger on an odd-man rush but the Tampa Bay defender was unable to control the puck. Ranger gathered his own rebound and fed a pass towards the slot, but Lecavalier’s shot went high.
Following the faceoff the Senators returned the puck to the opposite end of the ice, scoring seconds after the expiration of the penalty. After Chris Neil controlled the puck along the right side board he found Robitaille with a pass deep in the zone. Robitaille skated in front of the net and put a quick shot over Holmqvist’s left shoulder to bring Ottawa within one, 3-2.
The goal stood as Robitaille’s sixth of the season. With three multi-goal outings, all of Robitaille’s goals have come in pairs this season.
Less than three minutes into the final period Dany Heatley tied the game at three. Jason Spezza intercepted the puck in the deep left corner before throwing a pass out front to Heatley. The Senators winger redirected the shot high to the stick side against Holmqvist for his 25th goal of the season.
With his goal Heatley tied Alfredsson for the team-lead in scoring. Heatley extended his current point-streak to six games, a span in which he has recorded three goals and 10 points.
Although St. Louis dove through the zone to tip a Lecavalier slap shot from the right point late in the period, Emery held on to the puck to help his club force overtime.
Fisher claimed the extra point for Ottawa when he snapped a shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle at 3:17 of overtime. Sneaking a shot past Holmqvist, Fisher notched his 15th goal of the season.
The Senators out-shot the Lightning 27-19 in the contest with Holmqvist making 23 saves. Lecavalier and Fisher led their respective teams with five shots each.
Tampa Bay held Ottawa scoreless through two power plays, but did not have any man-advantage opportunities in the game.
With one goal and one assist each, both Lecavalier and St. Louis extended their current point-streaks to four games. Both skaters have recorded three goals and four assists during the stretch.
Picking up an assist in the contest Prospal extended his point-streak to six games, a span in which he has posted three goals and 10 points.
Following a two-day break Tampa Bay closes out their road trip with a match-up against the New York Rangers. Dropping the puck on Tuesday, January 8 (7:00p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE), the clubs will meet for the third time this season.
Martin St. Louis
1 - 0 TBL
Martin St. Louis
2 - 0 TBL
2 - 1 TBL
3 - 1 TBL
3 - 2 TBL
3 - 3 Tie