Tampa Bay at Ottawa
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, February 8, 2016
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
The Ottawa Senators finally produced a solid 60-minute performance last time out, but the challenge becomes much stiffer Monday as they host the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning. The Senators, who had dropped five of their previous six games, rolled to a 6-1 victory over Toronto on Saturday to avoid dropping under .500 for the first time this season.
“We definitely needed that,” Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson, who notched four assists, told reporters. “For us, it was about trying to hit that reset button a little bit and step out of our shell a bit and just not think too much.” The Senators will have to be better against the Lightning, who have beaten them twice this season and own an 11-2-0 record since the start of the calendar year. Nikita Kucherov leads the way with 45 points, registering at least one in 18 of his last 20 contests. Tampa Bay has recorded 41 goals during their strong 13-game run, prompting center Tyler Johnson to tell reporters, “I think our offense has arrived.”TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), TSN5, RDS (Ottawa)ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (29-18-4):
The line of Johnson, Kucherov and Alex Killorn has combined for 10 points in two games since the All-Star break as Tampa Bay stretched its winning streak to three. Captain Steven Stamkos is tied with Kucherov at 21 goals and set up a pair of tallies in the 6-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday. Ben Bishop (21 wins, 2.02 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) likely will get a chance to improve on his 8-0-3 career mark against Ottawa, which traded him to Tampa Bay in 2013.ABOUT THE SENATORS (24-23-6):
Last season’s Calder Trophy finalist, Mark Stone has raised his game with goals in three straight contests and five points during that span. Stone’s surge and the return of No. 1 center Kyle Turris (30 points) from injured reserve raises optimism that the Senators can put together a run. Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen with 59 points, including eight during his current four-game streak, while Bobby Ryan has registered four goals in his last six contests to climb within four of team leader Mike Hoffman (23).OVERTIME
1. Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman continues to move into contention for the Norris Trophy with a plus-11 rating on the season and nine points in his last nine games.
2. Ottawa was seventh in the league in scoring (2.79 per game) and last in goals allowed (3.11) through Saturday’s action.
3. The Lightning have earned at least one point in eight straight meetings with the Senators, going 5-0-3 in that stretch.PREDICTION:
Lightning 5, Senators 3
Stats and Records