WHY THE SENATORS WON
The Senators shut down their opponents for the third consecutive game. After getting lit up for most of the season, Ottawa is clearly enjoying playing in low-scoring games for a change. In 10 games since shipping goaltender Brian Elliott out of town, this team has allowed just 15 goals. Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 of 35 shots — many of them extremely difficult — to earn Ottawa’s latest surprising win.
Jason Spezza, Senators
Since returning from a separated shoulder on Feb. 5, Spezza has put up 15 points in 16 games to pull within three of current team leader Erik Karlsson. He continued to roll Tuesday night, scoring the game’s opening goal midway through the first period. The rangy centre sure seems to enjoy playing hockey with energetic kids like Bobby Butler (who also scored).
Steven Stamkos, Lightning
What’s wrong with the NHL’s leading goal-scorer? Normally dominant against the Senators (four goals and five assists in his last six), the only thing he hit in this one was the post. He has scored just once in his last eight games.
The Lightning rally didn’t get underway until a five-on-three goal early in the third period. Apparently it was a case of too little, too late. Had Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier managed to score on his clear breakaway in the second, things might have turned out differently. McElhinney stood his ground and squeezed the shot into his body, however, maintaining Ottawa’s 2-0 lead at that point.
- 6: Road wins in seven games for Ottawa.
- 3: Consecutive wins overall, for the first time since November.
- 1: Victory for Curtis McElhinney in an Ottawa sweater.
- 14: Erik Karlsson shots in two Florida games.
- 19: Shots for Tampa in the third period.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Hat tip to the folks who run the in-game program at the St. Pete Times Forum. Prior to the contest between the Senators and Lightning, they gracefully acknowledged the devastation from Friday’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan with a montage and moment of silence honouring the victims.
McElhinney’s win was an unmistakable sign that the Senators are officially off the tank. While Craig Anderson’s play can cover up a lot of shortcomings, McElhinney has been one of the worst netminders in the league over the past few years. Not on Friday, though. Each stellar outing by this combo worsens Ottawa’s chance at nailing down the top pick in the upcoming entry draft. With 59 points in the standings, the Senators are now five ahead of Edmonton and hot on the heels of Colorado (60), Florida (63), the New York Islanders (64) and New Jersey (66).