Monday, December 5th, 2011
Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200
After losing in OT to the Washington Capitals to end a stretch of 9 of 10 road games, the Ottawa Senators return home to face a struggling Tampa Bay Lightning Squad. The Lightning have dropped their last three contests and have dropped in the very tight Eastern Conference standings.
The Lightning are led, as usual by the trio of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos, with defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron contributing from the blue line. Between the pipes, Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon have pretty much split the duties evenly, with Garon having the better statistics overall, despite both players being at or around the .500 mark.
Ottawa’s lineup will remain the same as it was on Saturday, with Nikita Filatov sitting out and Filip Kuba still recovering from the injury that forced him out of the Dallas game last week. Craig Anderson will be in the Ottawa net again, after a strong performance against Washington that allowed the Sens to get a point.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Steven Stamkos, C (TB) – The Lightning triggerman has points in 19 of the Lightning’s 26 games played so far. His 16 goals is tied with Phil Kessel and Milan Michalek for first in the NHL, and he is 10th in league scoring.
Bobby Butler, LW (OTT) – Its becoming time to put up or shut up for Butler as he sees action on the wing of Jason Spezza for the second straight game. Butler didn’t have a good game on Saturday, and his audition is almost up for him to show that he can play significant minutes on a top line.
3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY
1. Solve the 1-3-1 - The Lightning’s defensive style has garnered much attention lately, and the Senators spent practice on Sunday working on ways to beat the system. Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar hold the keys to beating the Lighting, by carrying the puck to the second level of the defence and hitting the forwards in full stride entering the offensive zone.
2. Keep the Puck in the Offensive End – Another way to break the 1-3-1 is to keep the Lightning hemmed in their own end and create offense from the cycle. This is where the lines of Foligno-Michalek-Alfredsson and Smith-Daugavins-Condra should excel.
3. Stay out of the Box – With the talent they have on the ice, the Lightning power play should be better than the 17th overall ranking they currently hold. However, it is not a good idea to tempt fate by parading to the sin bin.
Check back after the game for a full recap.
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