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Senators hold off struggling Lightning 2-1

NHL.com @NHL

Maybe all the Ottawa Senators needed were some new goaltenders.

Curtis McElhinney made 34 saves in his debut for last-place Ottawa, helping the Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 at the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday night.

The Senators claimed McElhinney on waivers on Feb. 28 from the Lightning, who had acquired him from Anaheim four days earlier but never used him.

"It was such a short stay here, and I was on a plane right away after one skate," McElhinney said. "Those things happen, but it was a great thing that happened."

Craig Anderson sat out for the first time since being obtained in a trade with Colorado on Feb. 18. He is 6-3 with a .956 save percentage since coming to Ottawa.

"He's being playing phenomenal for a while, but for me to get a chance to jump in there and contribute felt great," McElhinney said. "To go out and put up a good performance and the guys score a few goals, it felt good."

Jason Spezza opened the scoring for Ottawa midway through the first period on a power play, backhanding a rebound past Dwayne Roloson. Bobby Butler scored 53 seconds into the second to make it 2-0.

Butler praised defenseman Sergei Gonchar for setting up his goal.

"I grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and chipped it through to (Gonchar)," Butler said. "He made a great play to get it back to me, and I just put it away."

Tampa Bay got on the board when Martin St. Louis tipped in a rebound 2:53 into the third period during a 5-on-3 advantage, ending the shutout bid. Ottawa had killed 33 consecutive penalties in 10 games before St. Louis broke through.

The Senators have won four consecutive road games.

"We're giving the goaltenders that lead to play with," Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said. "It's much easier to play the game when you've got the lead, but tonight, we'll throw the third period away except for the fact that we found a way to win."

The Lightning fell six points behind Washington in the Southeast Division after losing for the fourth time in five games. Life figures to get tougher for the Bolts, who've played 16 of their last 19 at home but begin a four-game trip at Florida on Saturday night.

"We need to figure out how to play a full 60 minutes," Tampa Bay defenseman Mike Lundin said. "We do it against teams like Chicago and other teams at the top of the standings. We need to do it against every team because points are just as valuable no matter who you play."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

 

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