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Elliott, Senators blank Lightning

TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- Brian Elliott got that elusive first NHL


After six brushes with his first NHL shutout, Elliott made 20

saves in the Ottawa Senators' 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay

Lightning on Sunday night.

"That's what you go for every night, so to finally get one, it

feels pretty good," the rookie goalie said. "I think it's

satisfying for the whole team. We come out -- if we're ahead --

a little sloppy in the third and teams have taken advantage of

that. I just had to make a couple of saves, and (my teammates)

put the puck in the net pretty well tonight."

Dany Heatley, Ryan Shannon and Jason Spezza scored to help

Ottawa, 11th in the Eastern Conference, improve to 10-3-0 in its

last 13 games. Tampa Bay has lost three straight and 10 of its

last 12.

The win helps Ottawa's slim playoff hopes, though the Senators

are 10 points behind the eighth spot occupied by the Montreal

Canadians with 86 points.

"We still aren't eliminated mathematically," Ottawa coach Cory

Clouston said. "Obviously that's something that we would like to

get, but our focus is one game at a time and whatever happens,


Heatley scored his team-high 35th goal of the season on a power

play 9:45 into the first period, though was more impressed by

his goalie's performance.

"There was a shot here and a shot there that could've changed

the game," Heatley said. "(Elliott) made some big saves when the

game was still up for grabs."

Shannon scored at 13:44 on a deflection off a Lightning player.

The goal was originally credited to Nick Foligno. But as Shannon

slide the puck through the five-hole of goalie Karri Ramo, Matt

Lashoff's attempt to clear the puck hit Ramo's leg, sending it

back into the net.

Shannon has a four-game goal streak and five-game point streak.

He has four goals and two assists in that span.

"Overall it wasn't one of our better efforts," Lightning forward

Steven Stamkos said. "We didn't play that poorly, we just didn't

generate enough offense and when you don't score, you don't


Spezza scored his 30th goal of the season on a late power play

in the third, firing a wrister past Ramo's right side. Daniel

Alfredsson assisted on the score, giving him 33 assists in 47

career games against Tampa Bay.

Ottawa also took advantage of the Lightning's poor play at home,

and Clouston will take the road win.

"When you're able to (shut out your opponent) in another team's

barn, you've done something (good)," Clouston said. "It's nice

for a goaltender to have that early lead."

With seven games remaining, the Senators will need every point

to slip into the playoffs. A shutout from their young goalie

will help those efforts.

"(Elliott is) going to have a long career in this league,"

Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips said. "It's nice to be a part

of that, but we're going to keep fighting right to the end and

then we'll see what happens."



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