Now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have ended a lengthy losing streak, they can turn their focus to generating positive momentum.
Seeking back-to-back victories for the first time in almost two months, the Lightning conclude a four-game road trip against the reeling Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay (7-14-8) finished tied with Los Angeles with a league-worst 71 points last season, and has begun 2008-09 in similar fashion, as their 22 points are tied with Atlanta and the New York Islanders at the bottom of the NHL.
The Lightning were outscored 37-22 during a nine-game losing streak (0-7-2), which they finally ended Thursday at Montreal. Martin St. Louis scored twice and Vincent Lecavalier added a goal and an assist to back a 31-save effort from Olaf Kolzig for a 3-1 victory.
It was Tampa Bay’s first win since Nov. 21 against Nashville, and its first road victory since Nov. 8 at Philadelphia. The Lightning improved to 2-7-4 under coach Rick Tocchet, who replaced the fired Barry Melrose on Nov. 14 following a 5-7-4 start.
“We deserved more than we’ve been getting lately,” St. Louis, who has five goals and three assists during a six-game point streak, told the Lightning’s official Web site. “(Thursday night), we fell behind but fought back.”
Tampa Bay now aims to secure consecutive victories for the first time since a three-game streak from Oct. 28-Nov. 1, which was capped by a 3-2 shootout win at home against Ottawa (10-12-5).
St. Louis has seven goals and 24 points in 29 career contests versus the Senators, while Lecavalier - with 15 of his team-high 26 points coming over the last 13 games - has 17 goals and 28 points in 34 lifetime matchups.
Ottawa sits last in the Northeast Division, and has lost three straight (0-2-1) following a 4-1-0 stretch. The Senators’ usually reliable defense has allowed 11 goals during the slide.
The Senators suffered through their worst defensive performance of the skid in a 5-1 loss at Washington on Friday night, and the offense didn’t come close to picking up the slack. Only rookie Jesse Winchester’s goal at 17:37 of the final period kept Ottawa from a second straight shutout defeat after falling 2-0 at Chicago on Wednesday.
“We need to get going,” Senators right wing Daniel Alfredsson said. “The last two games haven’t been good at all. It’s a bad loss for us.”
Alfredsson has 19 goals and 49 points in 44 career contests against the Lightning, while Heatley - leading Ottawa with 14 goals and 28 points - has 12 goals and 28 points in 24 matchups. Spezza has eight goals and 23 points in 17 games versus Tampa Bay.