After a tidy shutout over the Capitals in Washington, the Senators head to the Sunshine State to take on a new division rival and most likely a former friend in the pipes.
TAMPA BAY TIMES FORUM
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
This is the second of 5 meetings between the clubs this season. Tampa took the first encounter 3-2 powered by a pair of Martin St. Louis goals on December 5th.
Ottawa shut out the Capitals 2-0 on Tuesday night, while Tampa has been off since Sunday when they beat the Hurricanes 5-3.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Martin St. Louis, TBL – The tiny superstar hasn’t missed a beat since Steven Stamkos went down with injury. An Olympic snub seems to have put an even bigger chip in his shoulder than usual and he has put up 8 goals and 4 assists in his past 8 games, including a 4 goal effort in a loss to San Jose on Saturday.
Marc Methot, OTT – Assuming he makes his return to the lineup, Methot has some proving to do to the coaching staff after a perceived slight in keeping him out of the lineup for Tuesday’s win. Methot had some choice words about the scratch (whether healthy or not) and will be looking to back it up.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Home Cooking – The Lightning are 0-3-2 in their last 5 games at home, dating back to Dec 28th. They have been very road weary this month and have still kept pace with the Bruins.
2. Standings Movement – Both clubs could take monumental steps with a win tonight. Tampa could end the night in a first place tie in the Atlantic, while the Senators with a win and some help could finally jump into a playoff spot.
3. Big Ben – Former Senators goalie Ben Bishop has put up Vezina-like numbers this season behind a young and oft-injured blue line. He was also snubbed for a US Olympic spot by the likes of Jimmy Howard who made it despite inferior numbers.
With the group vying for the final playoff spots all playing well every night, the Senators can’t afford to give up points on any night, because they are points they can’t get back. With an extra few hours of rest now due to the schedule switch, they can go all out and put the pressure on tonight.