Lightning-Senators Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 22, 2013
Injuries are nothing new to the Ottawa Senators, though they're hoping the latest one doesn't cost them their hottest player for a game. Sergei Gonchar is a game-time decision when the Senators continue their five-game homestand Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The veteran defenseman set a franchise record with an assist for the ninth consecutive game, helping on Kaspars Daugavins' second-period goal in Thursday's 2-1 loss to Boston. While Gonchar left late with an undisclosed injury and did not participate in Friday's practice, coach Paul MacLean seemed optimistic the 38-year-old would be able to anchor his team's blue line. "He had improvement so we're positive for tomorrow," MacLean said of Gonchar, who has team highs of 19 assists and 21 points. "It looks like he's going to be able to go as well as (defenseman Marc) Methot. They're both important players and we need them to play if they can." Methot missed Thursday's contest with a lower-body injury. Ottawa (16-9-6) has dealt with long-term injuries to top center Jason Spezza, Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and defenseman Jared Cowen and also has lost No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson and forward Milan Michalek for extended periods of time. Robin Lehner, who made 27 saves Thursday, will start again as the Senators try to bounce back from just their second regulation loss at home (10-2-3). Ben Bishop gave up five goals in a 6-4 loss at Tampa Bay on Jan. 25 - the most allowed by Ottawa this season - when Ryan Malone rallied the Lightning with a pair of third-period goals. "They're a dangerous, dangerous team and if you allow them to have possession of the puck and play in your zone, they're going to give you a lot of headaches with (Steven) Stamkos and (Martin) St. Louis," MacLean noted. Stamkos and St. Louis, though, have only one goal between them in the four games since center Vincent Lecavalier was put on the injured list with a lower-body injury, with Stamkos scoring into an empty net in Monday's 4-2 win over Philadelphia. The Lightning (13-16-1) opened a three-game road swing through Canada with a 4-2 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, yielding three goals in a 6:30 span of the second period that created an insurmountable four-goal deficit. "It took us too much time to get our legs," coach Guy Boucher said. "We're a hard-working fast team and it didn't look like that the first half. "We looked like we were waiting to see what was going to happen out there," he added. "I don't know if it was because the guys froze or it was a road game - I can't tell you. But it wasn't a good game to start." And getting that first goal has been critical to Tampa Bay's limited success on the road. The Lightning are 4-2-0 when they take a 1-0 lead in an opponent's arena and 1-7-0 when they concede the first goal. Additionally, they have dropped seven of eight at Ottawa and failed to score more than two goals in any of their last nine contests in the Canadian capital. With 891 points, St. Louis is one shy of moving into a tie with Peter Bondra for 100th on the all-time NHL list. St. Louis, who has notched an assist in three straight games, had two in the January win over Ottawa and 13 goals and 37 points in 45 lifetime games versus the Senators.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

PETA sends Warren Sapp vegan lobster following shark bite

Report: Josh McCown has looked better at times than RG3

Mike Trout does David Ortiz impersonation

Suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant set to help coach HS football


Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker