Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 1/25/13
Game time: 7:30 p.m. ETTV: Sun Sports While much has been made about the Tampa Bay Lightning's star-studded trio of Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, rookie Cory Conacher is starting to emerge as another dangerous option. The 23-year-old center looks to continue his impressive play Friday night as the Lightning open a season-high five-game homestand against the undefeated Ottawa Senators. After opening 1-3-2 last season, Tampa Bay (2-1-0) is off to a solid start thanks to a combined 14 points from Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis. That production shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but Conacher's team best-tying five points have given the Lightning an even bigger lift. Conacher scored his second goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-1 win at Carolina. "He's young and a he's a smart kid, and honestly, what I like is that he's committed defensively," coach Guy Boucher told the team's official website. "He's got the offense, but I like his backcheck and he blocks shots and that's why he gets ice time. If he didn't do those things, he wouldn't be getting ice time." Boucher also had high praise for Lecavalier, who after posting a goal and an assist in Saturday's season-opening 6-3 win over Washington, set up a pair of scores against the Hurricanes. "He's doing it all right now, and I've been here for three years now, and this is the best I've ever seen him," Boucher said of the veteran center, who will be honored Friday for playing in his 1,000th game four days earlier against the New York Islanders. "He's leading as a captain and he's doing it with the winning things, not the flashy things." The Lightning now turn their attention to the Senators (3-0-0), who completed a home-and-home sweep of Florida with Thursday's 3-1 road win. Defenseman Erik Karlsson scored the go-ahead goal 8:28 into the second period after intercepting a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone and firing one past Jose Theodore. "I haven't seen too many people get from the blue line at a dead stop to the hash marks and shoot the puck in the net like that in a real long time," coach Paul MacLean said. "I thought, that's what makes you a Norris Trophy winner - the ability to sometimes make something out of nothing." Besides Karlsson's impressive efforts, Craig Anderson came up big again with 25 saves. The veteran goaltender, who's started all three games thus far, has compiled a 0.79 goals-against average and two shutouts in winning his last five starts against Tampa Bay. Although Mathieu Garon made 35 saves in his season debut Tuesday, Boucher is expected to go back to No. 1 netminder Anders Lindback. The Sweden native is 1-1-0 with a shaky 3.51 GAA. "Garon played great, but right now we've got a young goaltender in Lindback who we want to build up," Boucher said. "He's a young guy and he's played well, so we need to get him some minutes. The situation is we want to give (Lindback) an opportunity to grow, and Mathieu is a professional and understands that." Lindback will need to be wary of Jason Spezza, who's recorded 18 goals and 41 points in 30 career games in this series. He scored an empty-netter Thursday. Off to its best start since opening 5-0-0 in 2007-08, Ottawa's success shouldn't come as much of a surprise to Tampa Bay, which was outscored 19-6 in losing all four meetings in last season's series. The Senators are 33-8-3 with one tie against the Lightning since April 2000.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker