Senators-Lightning Preview

Martin St. Louis’ creativity gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a

much-needed win. They have a good chance to pick up a few more over

the next 2 1/2 weeks.

A seemingly favorable stretch of games for the Lightning begins

Friday night with a visit from the Eastern Conference’s last-place

team, the Ottawa Senators.

A season-worst, 0-3-1 slide to open this month, along with

Washington’s six-game win streak, cost Tampa Bay its spot atop the

Southeast Division. The Lightning, though, stayed within two points

of the Capitals with a 4-3 shootout win over Chicago on


After his team blew a two-goal lead in regulation, St. Louis

sealed that victory with a nifty spin in front of Corey Crawford

followed by a backhanded shot that went in off the crossbar.

“It’s a huge win,” St. Louis said. “We’ve been playing pretty

good hockey. We just haven’t gotten the results. … This time of

year, it’s all about results.”

Tampa Bay (38-21-8) has an opportunity for some more favorable

results in its drive to regain the lead in the Southeast and earn

its first playoff berth since 2006-07.

The Lightning will face only one team currently in playoff

position over its next nine games, a trip to sixth-place Montreal

on Thursday. They have three matchups in that stretch against the

Senators (24-34-9), including another at the St. Pete Times Forum

on March 29.

Tampa Bay will also travel to Ottawa on March 19 to wrap up a

four-game trip.

“We got to keep pushing,” coach Guy Boucher said. “If the door

doesn’t want to open, we’re going to break it down. We’re going to

do what we need to do.”

Boucher’s team will have to do that without Pavel Kubina for the

next three games. The NHL suspended the defenseman on Thursday for

an elbow to the head of Chicago’s Dave Bolland.

Given their recent history against Ottawa, the Lightning might

not need his help. They’re 3-0-1 in their last four against the

Senators and will try to win three straight home matchups for the

second time in the all-time series.

In the most recent meeting Jan. 8 at Scotiabank Place, Tampa Bay

used third-period goals from St. Louis and Adam Hall for a 2-1

victory. Dwayne Roloson also stopped 31 shots to snap a personal

five-game skid to Ottawa.

If he starts again, he’ll face a team that’s scored eight goals

in five games this month. The Senators, though, have prevailed in

three of those thanks to goaltender Craig Anderson.

Anderson, brought over in a trade with Colorado on Feb. 18, has

allowed one goal or fewer in seven of his nine consecutive starts

with the team, including Thursday’s 2-1 victory at Florida.

After Erik Karlsson scored twice, Anderson just missed his

second shutout with the Senators as he gave up a goal to Clay

Wilson with 4:13 remaining.

“A shutout is a great accolade to have, but the more important

thing is the team got the win and everyone’s happy in the room,”

Anderson said.

If he gets another start, Anderson will try to build on his

3-1-2 record and 1.36 goals-against average in seven career

matchups with the Lightning.

He’ll also try to stop NHL goal-scoring leader Steven Stamkos,

who has four goals and four assists during a five-game point streak

against Ottawa. St. Louis has also recorded a point in five

consecutive matchups.