OTTAWA (AP) -Johan Holmqvist is playing the best hockey of his career and is looking good doing it.
With consecutive shutouts against Pittsburgh and Ottawa - two high-powered offenses missing key components - Holmqvist hasn't allowed a goal in more than 121 minutes, the Lightning's longest shutout streak of the season.
"He's played very well the past two games," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "It's not just the saves he's making, it's how he's making them. He looks solid."
Vincent Lecavalier scored into an empty net with 12 seconds to play to secure the victory for Tampa Bay (19-24-5). The back-to-back shutouts are the Lightning's first of the season.
Ray Emery made 24 saves for the Senators.
Holmqvist was busiest in the second period Saturday, turning aside all 12 Senators shots. He had some help from an anemic Ottawa offense that managed just six shots in the third period despite having a pair of power-plays.
"I thought we played really strong in the third period when we really needed it," said Holmqvist, who had never recorded back-to-back shutouts. "We've been playing pretty good on the road, and when you get a couple of wins behind you the confidence keeps going.
"It's a very nice feeling and they were two big wins for us, which is the main thing, but it's nice to get a shutout."
Tortorella credited his players for bouncing back from a 3-0 home defeat to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
"It's been a long week," he said. "We're going from a situation at home where I thought we really struggled against Colorado and then found our way. I think our team is beginning to play as a team and I think that's the most important thing.
|The Senators Chris Neil and the Lightning's Shane O'Brien battle for the puck in front of Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist during the third period of Tampa Bay's 2-0 win at Ottawa on Saturday. It was Holmqvist's second-consecutive shutout. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Tom Hanson)|
"We were starting to do that before the Colorado game and then we got a backhand slap there. I'm very pleased with the effort."
Ottawa struggled without its two leading scorers. Daniel Alfredsson, who has 60 points this season, missed the game after sustaining a hip flexor injury during the Senators' 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. Dany Heatley missed his fourth straight game because of a separated shoulder and is expected to be out for several weeks.
"We've just got to get more chances and get more shots on net," Senators forward Shean Donovan said. "We need to be a little more desperate. Anytime you don't win it's not a good thing but we've got three games on the road now so it will be good for the team."
St. Louis had the only goal of the opening 40 minutes, scoring during a power play at 17:22 of the first period.
After the Senators got caught with too many men on the ice, St. Louis made them pay as he was left alone at the side of the net and scored on a rebound. Brad Richards took a point shot that Vaclav Prospal tipped in front of Emery, but he made the save.
After the puck fell to his feet, St. Louis swatted it into the empty net.
"It was a pretty effort. It was a tight checking game, essentially a 1-0 game on a kind of a lucky bounce on the power play," Senators forward Jason Spezza said. "It was kind of what we wanted and I think what they wanted, too. We just couldn't put the puck in the net."
Notes: The crowd of 20,091 at Scotiabank Place was the 19th consecutive sellout for the Senators, and 23rd of the season.
|PPG - Martin St. Louis (18) ASST: Brad Richards (27), Vinny Prospal (27)|
1 - 0 TBL
|EN - Vincent Lecavalier (29) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 TBL
|Paul Ranger Tripping against Randy Robitaille|
|Chris Neil Too many men/ice - bench|
|Wade Redden Hi-sticking against Vincent Lecavalier|
|Kyle Wanvig Hooking against Cody Bass|
|Chris Gratton Holding against Joe Corvo|
|Martin St. Louis Hi-sticking against Chris Neil|