(OTTAWA) – Johan Holmqvist made 25 saves for his second consecutive shutout in as many nights as the Lightning beat the Senators 2-0 to take all four points away from their two-game road trip. Holmqvist’s two shutouts were the first back-to-back road shutouts in team history.
Martin St. Louis scored what proved to be the game-winner on a power-play opportunity with less than three minutes remaining in the first. Vincent Lecavalier scored an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining in the game to break his four-game scoring slump and help beat the Eastern Conference-leading Senators in the Bolts’ fourth straight road win.
Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist makes a save on the Senators Antoine Vermette during Tampa Bay's 2-0 win at Ottawa on Saturday. It was Holmqvist's second-straight shutout. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Bolts had their first opportunity to get on the board midway through the period as Lecavalier and St. Louis stormed into the offensive zone on a two-on-two down the right sideboards. St. Louis fired a pass to Lecavalier, who battled for control with defenseman Chris Phillips. Lecavalier fired a backhand centering pass to St. Louis as he stormed the crease, but the pass was just past St. Louis’ stick blade. Paul Ranger scooped up the pass and shot but was blocked by Chris Neil. The puck came back to Ranger who passed to Vaclav Prospal waiting just outside the crease. Prospal fired a backhand shot on Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery, but the shot was deflected and Emery easily gloved the slowed attempt.
With just about 17 minutes gone from the period, Ottawa received a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Tampa Bay capitalized less than a minute into the power play as Brad Richards fired a shot from atop the right faceoff circle as the puck came bouncing off the sideboards. The shot hit traffic in front of the net as Anton Volchenkov tried to clear both St. Louis and Prospal from the crease. The shot hit off Prospal and landed for St. Louis, who fired it home past the left leg pad of Emery. The goal was St. Louis’ 18th of the season and his sixth power-play goal. The goal would stand as the only tally of the first period.
Even with Wade Redden in the box for high-sticking, Ottawa had an opportunity to tie the game with 44 seconds remaining in the penalty. The Senators, second in the league with 10 shorthanded goals, had a two-on-one as Jason Spezza skated in with Phillips. Spezza carried the puck into the zone along the left sideboards and slid the puck past a sprawling Filip Kuba to the stick of a waiting Phillips, who wasted no time getting the shot off. Holmqvist, sliding across the crease, denied Phillips the tying goal as he snagged the puck with a diving glove save.
Despite Tampa Bay’s scoring success throughout the season during the second period, the Senators seemed to be on the offensive for most of the middle frame. Ottawa surged and pressured the Lightning zone continuously throughout the period, but the Lightning kept their composure with the help of solid defense and strong goaltending from Holmqvist, who made 12 saves to preserve his shutout and the lead through two periods.
With Chris Gratton in the box for holding less than five minutes into the final period, the Lightning penalty-killing unit put on one of its most aggressive displays of the season. That penalty kill seemed to light some fire within the Lightning team, as the intensity picked up dramatically following the man advantage. St. Louis was called for high-sticking less than five minutes later, and the shorthanded unit once again came up strong to keep the Senators off the board.
The scored remained 1-0, and Emery was pulled with 1:18 to play in the third. With Lecavalier taking a faceoff against Spezza with less than 12 seconds to play, Lecavalier won the faceoff and threw the puck to the left sideboards, where it ricocheted back to him. He fired a wrist shot from the center line to score in the empty net and solidify the two-goal Lightning win. Lecavalier’s goal was his 29th of the season and ended his four-game point-scoring drought, his longest since 2005. Lecavalier and Richards combined for 13 shots on goal.
Winning goaltender: Johan Holmqvist
Losing goaltender: Ray Emery
Game-winning goal: Martin St. Louis