TAMPA, Fla. – The Ottawa Senators are playing spoiler with their two new goalies.
Curtis McElhinney made 34 saves in his debut for last-place Ottawa, helping the Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Friday night.
McElhinney was claimed off waivers from the Lightning on Feb. 28. He never played for Tampa Bay, which obtained him four days earlier in a trade with Anaheim.
“It was such a short stay here, and I was on a plane right away after one skate,” McElhinney said. “Those things happen, but it was a great thing that happened.”
Craig Anderson sat out for the first time since being obtained in a trade with Colorado on Feb. 18. He is 6-3 with a .956 save percentage in the Ottawa net.
“He’s being playing phenomenal for a while, but for me to get a chance to jump in there and contribute felt great,” McElhinney said. “To go out and put up a good performance and the guys score a few goals, it felt good.”
Jason Spezza opened the scoring for Ottawa (25-34-9) midway through the first period on a power play, backhanding a rebound past Dwayne Roloson. Bobby Butler scored the 53 seconds into the second to make it 2-0.
Butler praised defenceman Sergei Gonchar for setting up the game winner.
“I grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and chipped it through to (Gonchar),” Butler said. “He made a great play to get it back to me, and I just put it away.”
Tampa Bay (38-22-8) held a two-man advantage when Martin St. Louis tipped in a rebound 2:53 into the third period, ending the shutout bid. Ottawa had killed 33 consecutive penalties in 10 games before St. Louis broke through.
The Senators have won four consecutive road games.
“We’re giving the goaltenders that lead to play with,” Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said. “It’s much easier to play the game when you’ve got the lead, but tonight, we’ll throw the third period away except for the fact that we found a way to win.”
The Lightning lost for the fifth time in six games.
“We need to figure out how to play a full 60 minutes,” Tampa Bay defenceman Mike Lundin said. “We do it against teams like Chicago and other teams at the top of the standings. We need to do it against every team because points are just as valuable no matter who you play.”
NOTES: Lightning D Pavel Kubina began a three-game suspension for elbowing Chicago’s Dave Bolland in the head Wednesday night in a 4-3 shootout victory. … Tampa Bay has played all but three of its last 19 games at home. … Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has 21 goals and 60 points in 52 career games against Tampa Bay, missed his 14th consecutive game because of a back injury.