Boucher faces old team as Senators host Lightning
OTTAWA -- -- Guy Boucher claims it's just another game.
But when Ottawa hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre, it will mark the first chance for the Senators coach to strike back against the team that fired him on March 24, 2013.
Tampa was 13-17-1 when GM Steve Yzerman replaced Boucher with Jon Cooper. In two plus-seasons behind the Lightning bench, Boucher had a 97-78-20 record.
"I'm very calm and almost cold about it ... I don't know how to explain it," Boucher said about facing the Lightning. "It's been too long. I guess if it was last year or a few months ago, and it was all the people I had worked with and all the players I had, then I guess there would be emotion there. We're talking almost four years and so much has changed."
Only defenseman Victor Hedman and center Steven Stamkos are still with the Lightning team that Boucher coached.
"None of these guys are my guys except for those two," said Boucher.
The Senators are off to a 3-1-0 start under Boucher, winning all three games they've played in Ottawa including their last one, a 7-4 decision over the Arizona Coyotes.
The Lighting are also 3-1-0 and are venturing on the road for the first time. Their four game homestand concluded with a 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Tampa Bay rallied from behind to win each of its first three games.
"You can't keep testing fate," Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times. "Because eventually you're not going to be able to come back."
Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators. Despite his 3-0 record, Anderson says he's been no better than average and his .887 save percentage supports that claim.
His biggest issue has been rebound control.
"It's a work in progress," Anderson said. "Right now, it's just tracking the puck, following the puck off my body. I've showed it in spurts. Where I could do it, and there's been other times where it's just been a grenade in there and everything turns into chaos.
"If I could kind of calm things down back there for us we would be better off and I think you'd see less scoring chances."
Former Senators goalie Ben Bishop is expected to start between the pipes for Tampa Bay. Against his old team, Bishop has a 9-0-3 record, with a .933 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average.
The stop in Ottawa will mark the first of a six-game, 11 day road trip for the Lightning. Outside of the Sunshine State, the team will try to find the consistency it has lacked thus far.
"We haven't seen our best side yet," defenseman Anton Stralman told the Times.
Added Stamkos: "Sometimes you get on the road, guys get together and you don't try to impress your fans, you just go out and play your game. We're looking forward to our first road trip against some divisional opponents. We should have no problem getting up for those games."