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
“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,”
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