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Vermette scores twice, Sens build big lead early in 5-2 win over Lightning

Vermette scored twice and the Senators held off a second-period rally to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 Saturday night.

With the Senators already up 2-0 in the first period, Vermette increased the lead with a highlight-reel goal. Standing on the goal line facing the end boards after taking a pass from Daniel Alfredsson, Vermette shot the puck from behind his back and between his legs into the short side past Tampa netminder Johan Holmqvist.

"I've tried that in practice a couple of times and I remember in junior I tried a play like that but I didn't score on it. I got an assist, but that's the first time I scored on it," Vermette said.

"It doesn't happen a lot of times but I got lucky. Alfie made a nice pass to me at the side of the net and I was just trying to bring the puck out and I got lucky."

Jason Spezza added a goal and an assist to help the Senators to victory while Patrick Eaves and Joe Corvo also scored for the Senators (14-12-1), who have now won seven of their past eight games and are tied in points with the New York Islanders for eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders have played two fewer games.

Eric Perrin and Vincent Lecavalier scored in the second period for the Lightning (13-12-2), who have lost three straight following a three-game winning streak.

Vermette's second goal of the game with seven minutes to play in the third period stemmed the tide as the Senators watched a 4-0 first-period lead shrink to 4-2.

After dominating the Lightning through the opening 20 minutes, the Senators were on their heels most of the second period, being outscored 2-0 and outshot 17-9. The Lightning outshot the Senators 12-5 in the third and 36-25 overall but Senators goalie Ray Emery stood his ground.

"They had their chances but Ray played really well and kept us the lead," said Senators forward Mike Fisher. "We came back in the third."

Perrin and Lecavalier scored less than two minutes apart in the second to trim the Sens' lead in half. The Lightning had several chances to narrow the gap even further, but they squandered back-to-back power plays shortly after Lecavalier's goal.

"It's hard to come back down 4-0 in the first," said Lecavalier. "In the second and third we played a lot better and we got back in the game after we scored the second goal. If we could have buried that third one it would have given us a chance."

Things started poorly for the Senators as Peter Schaefer was penalized for interference 1:33 into the game. Their fortunes quickly turned though, as Eaves stole the puck at the Lightning blue-line and beat Holmqvist on the backhand for a shorthanded goal.

Corvo doubled the lead when his point shot beat Holmqvist on the power play at 6:49. Vermette's trick-shot goal then spelled the end of the night for the Tampa netminder, who was replaced by Karri Ramo, making his NHL debut.

Spezza gave the Senators their biggest lead at 16:21 after taking a feed from Chris Kelly, who stole the puck behind the Tampa net and found Spezza all alone in front.

Notes: The Senators set a club record for most consecutive goals without being scored upon. After falling behind 1-0 in Carolina Nov. 28, the Senators scored the next four goals in a 4-1 win then Shutout the Florida Panthers 6-0 Nov. 30. Their 4-0 lead Saturday gave them 14 straight goals.


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