Michalek's hat trick lifts Senators over Lightning
Milan Michalek made Ottawa Senators fans forget about high-scoring Dany Heatley -- at least for one night.
Acquired at the start of training camp in the deal that sent Heatley to San Jose, Michalek had his first three-goal game in the NHL, scoring twice short-handed and once on a power play in Ottawa's 7-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
"To see all the people standing and clapping for me was an awesome feeling," said Michalek said. "Hopefully, there's many goals to come."
Michalek shoveled a rebound past goalie Mike Smith with Tampa Bay on the power play in the first period. The big Czech winger then beat Smith again on a short-handed breakaway early in the second, helping the Senators to their fourth win in five games.
"Two short-handed goals, it's embarrassing," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "We gave one up against Florida (in a win Monday night). I know it's only Game 6, but when you give up three short-handed goals in two games, there's going to be some video, there's going to be some talking and there might be some changes."
Michalek completed the hat trick when he converted a spinning pass from Jason Spezza during a third-period power play.
Jarkko Ruutu had a goal and two assists and Alex Kovalev, Alexandre Picard and Nick Foligno also scored for the Senators. Daniel Alfredsson had three assists.
"Obviously, we played good, but they didn't have a great game today," Alfredsson said. "We get up a couple fairly early and they have to force it and go on the offense, which opens things up. It's a big confidence boost for us, but it's one of those games that kind of got a little bit out of hand for them."
Pascal Leclaire enjoyed a quiet night in goal, needing to make just 16 saves.
Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone scored his sixth goal of the season.
Smith finished with 28 saves.
NOTES: Martin St. Louis had an assist for Tampa Bay. He has at least a point in every game this season. ... The Senators will be Montreal on Saturday night. It'll be Kovalev's first game there since signing with Ottawa in the offseason.