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Senators thump Lightning 4-1

by Erin Nicks
KANATA, Ont. -- Craig Anderson may not have been voted in as an All-Star, as four of his Ottawa teammates were, but he played like one against Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Anderson made 35 saves and Kyle Turris scored his first goal of the season as the Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 at Scotiabank Place on Thursday night, in front of a capacity crowd of 19,944.

Jason Spezza and Zack Smith also scored for the Senators, while Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and two assists.  Steven Stamkos had the lone goal for the Lightning.

Anderson, named the game's first star, won for the fourth straight time and sixth in his last eight starts. Dwayne Roloson made 20 saves for Tampa Bay, which lost for the second time in three days on its swing through Eastern Canada.

The Senators goalie, who stopped all 27 shots he faced through two periods, insisted that the win was a team effort.

"All that really matters right now is getting two points, regardless of how it happens," Anderson said. "The guys are doing a good job and we're battling when we get behind, and tonight we did a great job of holding on to the lead and sticking with our system. We just got to keep building off of it. There's going to be nights when you feel good and everything kind of goes your way. I got a couple of pieces of shots and they hit the post a few times, and I had a little luck on my side as well."

It was the first time this season that the Sens were able to start, maintain and finish the game with a lead at home. They had previously held the lead all the way through three periods in a 5-2 win over Edmonton on Nov. 17 at Rexall Place.

The Senators lead off the scoring in the first period when Roloson gave up a juicy rebound on Colin Greening's shot to Spezza, who backhanded the puck into the net at 10:36. Spezza leads the Senators in points with 41, and was one of four Senators named as a starter to the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game earlier in the day, along with Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson.

The Lightning largely outworked the Sens through the first period, and came into the second on a power play after Turris was called for boarding at 18:58. But Tampa Bay was unable to capitalize; the Lightning finished 0-for-3 with the extra man and are just 7-for-82 -- a League-low 8.5 percent -- away from home.

The Senators went ahead 2-0 during a delayed penalty to Stamkos when Turris redirected a feed from Alfredsson and backhanded it high over the glove of Roloson at 17:07. It was his first goal since coming to the Senators from Phoenix last month. Erik Condra also had an assist on the goal, and is riding four-point streak.

"It felt really good to get that one and get going here," Turris said.  "Hopefully they come in bunches now and I can capitalize on the opportunities that Alfie has been giving me. I can't thank coach [Paul] MacLean and the guys for making me feel comfortable from Day 1, and just let me play my game and get my legs under me."

Alfredsson said he and his new linemate have been hitting a groove.

"Kyle has been skating well; it's been fun playing with him and we (alongside Erik Condra) seem to be getting some chemistry," he said." It's nice to get rewarded when you're playing well."

Ottawa led 2-0 after 40 minutes despite being outshot 27-15.

Tampa Bay's hard work paid off in the third period, when Stamkos pounced on the rebound of a shot by Lecavalier, and buried it behind Anderson at 8:48 for his eighth goal in five games and League-high 28th of the season.

But Alfredsson fed Smith for a slapper that beat Roloson with 3:26 remaining, then hit the empty net with 52.2 seconds left.

It was a frustrating loss for the Lightning. Tampa Bay has dropped four in a row on the road, though coach Guy Boucher felt his team deserved a better fate on Thursday after being demolished 7-3 in Toronto two nights earlier.

"I'm always honest. Some games you don't deserve (to win), but tonight I don't think we deserved to lose," Boucher said. "Their goaltender played really well, but at the same time we really got unlucky on those shots, too. It's hard for the players; they don't deserve it. We can't get a break."

Lecavalier insisted that despite the loss, the team has to continue their good work as they head to Montreal on Saturday.

"I thought we played great, we had a lot of opportunities," he said.  "Their goalie made some huge saves. We've still got to build from that. I don't want to say it was a downer, but we've got to bring (that good energy) to our next game in Montreal and play the same way."

The Lightning also lost two forwards during the game. JT Wyman took a shot from Condra off his right hand in the first period and did not return. Adam Hall, who fought Matt Carkner early in the game, also left the game with an upper-body injury.
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