Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 15th
Game 2: Thursday, October 29th
Game 3: Thursday, November 5th
Game 4: Thursday, April 8th

Lightning 1

(2-2-2, 6 pts)

Senators 7

(4-2-0, 8 pts)

Coverage: TSN

7:30 PM ET, October 15, 2009

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
TB 0 1 01
OTT 2 3 27

M. Michalek (Senators - LW): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

J. Ruutu (Senators - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

A. Volchenkov (Senators - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Lightning-Senators Preview


The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for a third straight victory, and their first this season with Mike Smith in net.

Smith is expected to return to action Thursday night for the Lightning when they visit the Ottawa Senators, who are also off to a solid start this season.

Tampa Bay (2-1-2) has won back-to-back games behind backup goaltender Antero Niittymaki, who posted a 2.00 goals-against average in those victories. Niittymaki made 31 saves in a 3-2 victory over Florida on Monday.

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"Niittymaki was as solid as could be," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He was excellent."

Tocchet has announced that Smith will start against the Senators after missing two games with back and neck problems suffered in a 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey Oct. 8.

Smith is 1-2-0 with a 1.98 GAA in three career games against Ottawa (3-2-0).

"We've got two healthy goalies (now)," Tocchet told the Lightning's official Web site. "Let's keep it that way."

The Lightning are 0-5-3 in their last eight road games since a 4-3 shootout win March 14 at Florida. They are also 3-16-2 in their last 21 games at Ottawa.

The Senators are wrapping up a four-game homestand after their three-game winning streak was snapped Monday in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Milan Michalek -- acquired last month from San Jose in the trade for disgruntled forward Dany Heatley -- scored his first goal for Ottawa.

Ottawa is looking to correct its early power-play woes. The Senators have scored once with the man advantage in 15 tries, failing to convert on a 5-on-3 advantage for 87 seconds against the Penguins.

They're happy so far with the play of Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov. The veteran blueliners lead the club in ice time and are a big reason why Ottawa is among the top teams in the league on the penalty kill.

"There are two guys right now who are playing superior (hockey) and the rest of them are pretty good," general manager Bryan Murray told the Senators' official Web site.

Those defensemen may match up well with the high-scoring Lightning line of Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis.

St. Louis has a team-high nine points, Stamkos has three goals and three assists and Malone has four goals in his last two games. The trio combined for one assist against the Senators in 2008-09.

Malone scored the game-winner off an assist from Stamkos on Monday as Tampa Bay rallied from a 2-1 deficit after two periods. Tocchet wants his team to get off to a better start.

"The first two periods I don't think we played Tampa Bay hockey," Tocchet said. "A little bit too much river boat gambling and trading chances for chances."