OTTAWA – Mike Fisher saved the Ottawa Senators from a poor start in a big way.
Fisher scored the game winner with 1:43 remaining in overtime to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night.
With the goal, Fisher extended his point streak to seven games (7-3).
“It was a nice way to come back,” said Fisher. “We weren’t happy with the first part of our game, but we didn’t give up. The last couple of games we’ve found a way to win late and that’s obviously a good sign that we’re not giving up.”
Randy Robitaille led the way for the Senators (27-10-4) with two goals and Dany Heatley scored his 25th of the season.
Ray Emery, making back-to-back starts for just the second time this season stopped 16 shots for his seventh win.
Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier both had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (15-23-4). Jan Hlavac also scored. Johan Holmqvist, making just his second start in eight games, stopped 23 shots.
Tampa on the other hand is anything but lucky.
Despite outplaying the Senators for much of the game the Lightning still couldn’t find a way to win. Tampa is now mired in a seven-game losing streak and continues to struggle on the road. The Lightning has the worst road record in the league (3-15-2) and will have to play the Rangers in New York on Tuesday before returning home.
“Don’t pity us we can’t have any self pity,” said Tampa head coach John Tortorella. “We have to just keep on trying and finding a way to complete a game. Not just get one point, but get two points”.
“The goal at the end, it just kicks you right in the teeth, but we have to regroup.” The Lightning held a 3-2 lead heading into the third, but continues to struggle in the final period. Tampa has now given up 60 third-period goals, while the Senators have scored 59.
“We still have to find a way…it’s a big point in this building,” said a dejected St. Louis. “Tonight we gave up a point it’s still a sour feeling. It’s a two goal lead you know. We can’t close a sandwich right now.” The Senators outshot the Lightning 12-4 in the third and had a number of chances to win the game in regulation as Tampa seemed to lose composure and confidence.
“We knew we had to be better as the game went on and we were,” said Senators forward Jason Spezza. “We found a way to win the game and that’s encouraging.” This was just the fourth time in 15 games that the Senators have won when trailing after two periods.
“They let us hang around,” said Senators coach John Paddock. “We weren’t strong or sharp, but they let us hang around. They didn’t put the nail in the coffin”.
“I thought we showed real resiliency after getting behind in the game.” Ottawa got off to a slow start and Tampa took advantage scoring five minutes into the first as St. Louis roofed it over Emery’s shoulder. Lecavalier made it 2-0 midway through the period after he was left all alone in front.
The Senators were able to salvage the first period as Robitaille scored with 38.2 seconds remaining. A giveaway by Fisher led to a great scoring opportunity for Hlavac who easily beat Emery stick side early in the second to take a 3-1 lead.
Robitaille scored his second of the game late in the second as he beat Holmqvist with a snapshot.
“It would be nice to score more often,” said Robitaille, who now has six goals. “The coach rewarded me (Saturday) with more ice time and it was a confidence boost.” Ottawa tied the game 3-3 early in the third as Heatley scored on a great setup by Spezza to the delight of the 20,108 on hand at Scotiabank Place.
The game featured the leagues two highest scoring lines as Ottawa’s trio of Heatley, Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson have now combined for 161 points (65 goals) and the Lightning’s combination of Lecavalier, St. Louis and Vaclav Prospal picked up another five points for 154 on the season (62 goals).
The Senators lost the services of Dean McAmmond midway through the second as he felt the effects of the flu.
Notes: Ottawa was without C Patrick Eaves (shoulder, day-to-day), D Joe Corvo (flu, day-to-day) Tampa’s C Nick Tarnasky was a healthy scratch, the Lightning were also without C Tim Taylor (hip, indefinite), C Ryan Craig (knee, season), LW Michel Ouellet (shoulder, indefinite), D Dan Boyle (wrist, indefinite).