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Post-game report: Ottawa 4 Lightning 1

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA (AP) - Martin Havlat and Jason Spezza scored power-play goals 1:07 apart early in the third period and Mike Fisher added a short-handed goal as the Ottawa Senators rallied to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opener of the Eastern Conference playoff series Friday night.

Daniel Alfredsson scored into an empty net with 1:02 remaining and Ray Emery made 35 saves for the Senators in his postseason debut. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Sunday in Ottawa.

Emery, who drew an assist on Spezza's go-ahead goal 6:13 into the third, has carried the load for the Senators since Dominik Hasek was injured during the Olympics. He won 12 games in March to tie an NHL record for wins in a month.

Vincent Lecavalier opened the scoring on a two-man advantage late in the first and Tampa Bay - which outshot Ottawa 16-11 in a fast-paced opening period - held a 1-0 lead through 40 minutes.

Havlat, limited to 18 games this season because of injuries, tied it during Ottawa's fifth power play at 5:06 of the third.

The Czech forward deked Lightning goalie John Grahame and fired a shot over his outstretched right pad. Havlat then skated to the left corner and jumped into the boards, banging his gloves against the glass as fans jumped to their feet to create a sea of red jerseys, shirts, jackets and Thunderstix in the crowd.

Spezza assisted on Havlat's goal and gave the Senators a 2-1 lead moments later, beating Grahame over his left shoulder with a sharp-angled shot for Ottawa's second straight power-play goal.

Fisher made it a two-goal lead at 9:37 when he scored over Grahame's right pad to finish off a pretty pass from Peter Schaefer on a 2-on-1. The Senators led the NHL with 25 short-handed goals.

Playing in just his third career playoff game, Grahame made a fine glove save on Dany Heatley in the first, and topped that with a spectacular grab on Antoine Vermette's slap shot on a short-handed 2-on-1 opportunity 6:45 into the second.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning took advantage of two Ottawa penalties 41 seconds apart to open the scoring. Lecavalier scored on a fine passing play just 13 seconds into the two-man advantage.

Lecavalier came close to scoring his second of the game when he hit the crossbar 6:20 into the second during a delayed penalty. Emery caught another break late in the period when Ruslan Fedotenko also hit the crossbar.

Senators forward Vaclav Varada collided with Grahame at 11:49, precipitating a scrum in the crease after the Lightning goalie made another glove stop on Vermette.

Notes: Grahame reached up to catch a loose puck after he batted his rebound of Chris Kelly's short-handed shot high into the air early in the first. ... Emery had a new boxing hero on his mask, Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo. After catching flack for sporting a likeness of Mike Tyson earlier this season, Emery opened the playoffs with an image of the Canadian champion who went 15 rounds in a 1966 title bout loss to Muhammad Ali in Toronto. ... Wearing a cap and a track suit, Hasek stood at the end of the Senators bench behind Mike Morrison, Emery's backup. Morrison appeared in 25 games this season with Edmonton and Ottawa. He was 1-0-1 with a 3.48 goals-against-average in four appearances with the Senators. ... C Tyler Arnason, D Christoph Schubert and RW Brian McGrattan were among Ottawa's healthy scratches. RW Rob DiMaio was one of 11 players who didn't dress for the Lightning.


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