Lightning (39-22-10) at Senators (26-36-9) 7:00 p.m. on Hockey Night in Canada (CBC)
The Bolts continue their north-of-the-boarder schedule with tonight’s tilt against the Ottawa Senators. This will be the third of four meetings between the two this season, with each team taking a win in the opponent’s rink in their previous two games this year.
The Senators have been on a slide since the trade deadline, and playoff surges by New Jersey and Toronto have dropped Ottawa into last place in the East. The one team they seem to have the number of is the New Jersey Devils, and their roster looks more and more like AHL’s Binghamton Senators than an NHL squad.
This makes them dangerous; they have absolutely nothing to lose. They aren’t making the playoffs. Injuries and trades have resulted in most of their minor league system being called up. Everyone is getting a chance, and the minor league guys want to show what they can do at the NHL level. These last 10 or so games are their opportunity to make a case for next season as the organization rebuilds.
For the Lightning, this means they are going to have to stem an attack. The Senators haven’t been good defensively or in net, so there will be holes and offensive opportunities for the Lightning. As long as they can take advantage, they should be fine. But if they let some of the young guys on the Senators gain some confidence, it will be a different game altogether.
Tamps had a good effort against the Habs the other night before losing in a shootout. They will have Lecavalier after some controversy. They need to build on these things to gain some momentum they had lost going into the playoffs on Canada’s biggest hockey stage: Hockey Night in Canada.