OTTAWA – Kyle Turris can breathe a little easier.
The 22-year-old centre scored his first goal in an Ottawa uniform and Craig Anderson made 35 saves Thursday as the Senators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1.
Turris scored the eventual game-winner to make it 2-0 at 17:07 of the second period on a neat deflection in the slot off a pass from Daniel Alfredsson.
“It’s a big relief,” Turris said. “It feels really good to finally get that one and hopefully a lot more to come in bunches.”
Turris has played well since coming over in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes last month, collecting four assists in seven games coming into Thursday.
With all that hard work, his teammates knew his first goal was on the horizon.
“(Jason Spezza) called it before the game,” said Alfredsson, who had a goal and two assists. “He said today’s the day to get the goal before we go on the road. He’s quite the fortune teller.”
Spezza and Zack Smith also scored for the Senators, who improved to 21-15-5 at the midway part of their schedule. Ottawa sits a surprising fifth in the Eastern Conference with 47 points.
The win capped off a big day for the Senators, who learned earlier that Spezza, Alfredsson, winger Milan Michalek and defenceman Erik Karlsson had been voted in by fans to start the all-star game.
The game will be played at Scotiabank Place on Jan. 29.
Steven Stamkos scored his league-leading 28th of the season for Tampa Bay (17-19-3), which got 20 saves from Dwayne Roloson.
Anderson has had his share of troubles this season, but he was clearly the difference on this night.
The Ottawa netminder kept his team in the game as the desperate Tampa Bay squad seemed to come in waves at times, especially in the second period when the Lightning held a 16-8 shot advantage.
“I’m always honest and some games you don’t deserve it,” Tampa coach Guy Boucher said. “But tonight I don’t think we deserved to lose. It’s hard for the players because they feel we deserved it. We can’t get a break. We can’t get the bounces. It was a tough one.”
Alfredsson agreed the Senators have Anderson to thank after getting outplayed for the first two periods.
“I don’t think we played great until the third period,” he said. “The way (Anderson) was playing we did a good job even though we were in trouble and they had a lot of possession and a lot of shots.”
Stamkos scored off a scramble at 8:48 of the third to make it 2-1. Stamkos, who has scored eight times during a five-game goal streak, ruined Anderson’s bid for the Senators’ first shutout of the season.
“Their goalie played great and made some great saves,” Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier said. “We played 60 good minutes, a solid game and we have to build from that.”
Smith put the game out of reach with a bullet slapshot off another Alfredsson feed at 16:34. The Senators captain then iced the game with an empty-net goal with under a minute to go for a three-point night.
Spezza opened the scoring by shovelling a puck past Roloson at 10:36 of the first off a point shot from Sergei Gonchar.
Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis rang a shot that rattled off the posts but stayed out early in the third as he failed to record a point for the first time in his last eight games, including six in a row since returning from facial and nasal fractures.
St. Louis had scored a goal in each of his previous two games when he was hit by a shot in practice on Dec. 8. He missed the next five games, ending his consecutive games streak at 499.
Tampa Bay lost 7-3 in Toronto on Tuesday night to end a three-game winning streak. The Lightning wrap up its three-game trip through Eastern Canada on Saturday night in Montreal.
Ottawa plays an afternoon game at Philadelphia on Saturday before hosting the Flyers in the rematch on Sunday night.
Notes: The Senators were without D Chris Phillips (concussion, day-to-day), C Jesse Winchester (concussion, day-to-day), C Peter Regin (shoulder, indefinitely). … Tampa was without D Mattias Ohlund (knee surgery, indefinite), RW Ryan Shannon (lower body, 2-4weeks), D Victor Hedman (concussion, indefinite), LW Ryan Malone (lower body, questionable). D Evan Oberg was a healthy scratch. … Roloson was making his first start since Dec. 12.