When the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators square off this afternoon in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, it will be a chance to rebound from Wednesday night’s dismal showing against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tampa Bay has stumbled mightily, winning only seven games after beginning this season 6-1. Two of those wins came this past week though, so maybe there’s a sliver of hope. Meanwhile, the Senators are 4-4 in their past eight games, but just suffered a heartbreaking loss to division rival Boston.
Offensively, Martin St. Louis will be looking to tally his 33rd assist and 40th point. If that happens, he’ll tie teammate Steven Stamkos for third in points, 12 behind the leader Sidney Crosby. Rookie Tyler Johnson could also play a role, as he has a goal and four points in his last four games after being called up from AHL Syracuse.
For the Senators, Sergei Gonchar is currently on a nine-game point streak, so finding a way to slow him will be crucial.
Another factor that might impact this game is goaltending. With Anders Lindback nursing a right ankle sprain sustained late in Wednesday night’s relief appearance, the Lightning will turn to backup Mathieu Garon. Garon, in only 11 starts this season, is 3-8-0 with a 2.79 GAA and .910 save percentage. The Senators, on the other hand, plan on starting Robin Lehner who has been brilliant in the absence of Craig Anderson.
The Lightning will be missing Lindback, captain Vincent Lecavalier and wingers Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Malone, all of whom are on injured reserve. However, Cedrick Desjardins has again been brought up from the minors, and will back up Garon.
Will the Lightning be able to rebound and put together a long winning streak or are their playoff hopes completely dead? The game starts at 2 p.m. on Sun Sports.