Bolts crush Sens, inch closer to playoff berth

“We are back to our mentality,” said Lightning forward Dominic Moore, with two goals on the evening. “I think we’re back to building on what we’ve done all season long, which is deserving victories and deserving results.”

After a slow first period, the Lightning jumped all over the Senators in the second period with two goals, one each from Marty St. Louis and Dominic Moore, to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.

In the third, the Lightning got another goal from St. Louis as well as goals from Moore and Stamkos, staying in complete control. The Bolts outworked and out-hustled the Sens from the get-go, something that had been missing in the previous meetings between these two teams.

“Marty was just leading the way with his charge and he was just flying out there,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “Stamkos was flying out there. I’ll be honest, I put him out there at the end so hopefully he could get an empty net [goal] because he deserves a goal. He had been deserving of a goal for many games now.”

There was even some rough stuff late in the third period of this one, as can be expected anytime Chris Neil rolls into the St. Pete Times Forum. Neil threw an elbow at Steve Downie and then tried to rough him up before they both dropped the gloves and fought. Neil ended up getting 19 minutes in penalties for his efforts, while Downie, after showing great restraint, went to the box for the fighting major and earned his team a four minute power play in the process.

Besides scoring the empty net goal, Stamkos feels like maybe the team is finally starting to get its stride back as they head towards the regular season finish line.

“I felt really confident heading into this game and it seems like our team is peaking at the right time,” Stamkos said. “We went through our little lull of the season the last couple of weeks, but we are feeling really confident right now going into the last six games of the year. We’ve played two solid games now, we’re back on track, and it feels good to get the win.”

Now comes the big test. The Lightning will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum in what may be a potential first round playoff preview. It will be a huge test for the Lightning to see where they are at against the team they may see the second week of April. Game time in that one is at 7:30.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning had three goals on Tuesday night. First, beat an Ottawa team that had gotten the best of them in their last two games. Second, find a way to score on Ottawa goaltender Curtis McElhinney, and finally, with a bit of help, punch their ticket to the postseason for the first time in four years.

Well, as the saying goes, “two out of three aint bad”; the Lightning beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Unfortunately for the Bolts, though, the Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a shootout to prevent the Lightning from clinching, but the Lightning’s “magic number” to clinch a playoff spot is down to 2 points, and they can still clinch as soon as tomorrow with a regulation win by the Montreal Canadiens.

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