After an impressive stretch in which they were playing well both
offensively and defensively, the Ottawa Senators are in a bit of a
A matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning may help them get back on
Ottawa looks to sweep the season series from the Lightning for
the first time since 2005-06 when it visits Tampa Bay on Tuesday
The Senators (34-25-8) trail Northeast Division-leading Boston
by three points, but they could be in first place if they hadn’t
struggled over the weekend.
Ottawa lost for only the second time in eight games Friday, 2-1
at home to Chicago, before opening a two-game swing through Florida
on Sunday with a 4-2 defeat to the Panthers. The Bruins also lost
both of their games over the weekend.
Prior to their consecutive defeats, the Senators had outscored
their opponents 40-24 during a 7-3-1 stretch.
They jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period Sunday, but
Robin Lehner allowed three goals in the first 11 minutes of the
“I think the whole team collapsed a little bit and they came out
very hungry,” said Lehner, who lost his second straight start after
winning two in a row with a 1.00 goals-against average following
his recall from the minors to replace injured Craig Anderson.
Jared Cowen and Chris Neil scored Sunday for Ottawa, which saw
its four-game road winning streak end.
“Our competition level after the first period stayed the same
and theirs obviously elevated to a higher level,” coach Paul
MacLean said. “Instead of raising our competition level as the game
went on to meet theirs, we got frustrated.”
The Senators haven’t been frustrated much against the Lightning
(31-28-6) this season, outscoring them 12-3 in winning all three
meetings. However, Anderson shut down Tampa Bay in those matchups,
and he won’t be around for this one after badly cutting his finger
while preparing a meal two weeks ago.
Lehner won’t be around, either. Ottawa reassigned him Monday,
recalling Ben Bishop from the minors to take his place. Bishop is
4-5-1 with a 2.83 goals-against average in 13 career games – all
with St. Louis, which traded him to the Senators on Feb. 26 for a
draft pick. Veteran backup Alex Auld also remains on the
The Senators, though, will have Daniel Alfredsson and Jason
Spezza available. Spezza has four goals and two assists against the
Lightning this season, while Alfredsson has two goals and three
Alfredsson, however, will be trying to avoid going without a
point for a season-high fifth straight contest, and Spezza had an
11-game point streak end Sunday.
Spezza registered his fourth career three-goal game in a 4-0 win
at Tampa Bay on Feb. 14. He has 18 goals and 23 assists in 29
career games against the Lightning.
“I think it’s the challenge of playing (Steven) Stamkos,
(Vincent) Lecavalier, (Martin) St. Louis, you have to be on your
game playing against those guys,” Spezza said.
Stamkos leads the NHL with 47 goals, and he scored twice
Saturday – including in overtime – as Tampa Bay beat Carolina 4-3
for its fourth straight win.
The Lightning have gone 14-5-2 in their last 21 games to get
back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. Stamkos has 17 goals
and 13 assists over that span.
“These guys are doing the impossible, so no matter how we do it
doesn’t make a difference,” coach Guy Boucher said. “We find ways,
and we’ll take it.”