Bishop gets help, Sens dump Bolts
BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
|Senators goaltender Ben Bishop makes a save against the Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., March 6, 2012. (MIKE CALRSON/Reuters)
TAMPA - Ben Bishop wasn’t the only one who came up big for the Senators Tuesday night.
While the 6-foot-7 goalie scored a 7-3 victory with 25 stops in his Ottawa debut to beat the Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Colin Greening had a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist and fight) and Milan Michalek scored three goals.
Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Sergei Gonchar also scored as Ottawa halted a two-game losing skid.
“The guys were letting me know (about the Gordie Howe) between periods,” said Greening. “It’s the first of my career. It’s just something that happened.
“The last five games or so, I haven’t been playing as many minutes. It shows a lot of confidence from the coaching staff to put me back with (Michalek) and (Jason Spezza). We had some good chemistry.”
“Greening was a force. He’d be the best Newfoundlander on the ice tonight. It’s all been about Teddy Purcell. He was pretty motivated,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean.
The Senators were forced to finish the game with five blueliners after Chris Phillips left with a broken nose after he was hit by Adam Hall in the second. Phillips will be re-evaluated Wednesday and could play Thursday. If he can’t, Matt Carkner will return.
You’ve got to give Greening credit. He took a lot of punches to the face against Tampa’s Keith Aulie, but stood in there and scored the takedown at 10:57 of the second. It’s no coincidence the Senators got back on track.
So upset was MacLean after Tampa pulled to within a goal after the Senators took a 3-0 lead, he called a timeout to let the players have it.
“He just told us to be more calm,” Michalek said of the timeout. “We started to run around a little bit. We had the lead. They came really close to tying it up and he just told us we had to be calm. It worked.”
Spezza said there was concern after blowing a 2-0 lead in Florida Sunday night.
“It’s a natural tendency to back up when you get a lead and we gave them all the momentum,” said Spezza. “He just wanted us to re-grab the game and be hard on our sticks.
“(Florida) creeps into your mind, for sure. It doesn’t go unnoticed that we gave up a lead in Florida. All of a sudden, we find ourselves in a 3-2 game. It was for him to remind us we’ve (gone down) this road before.”
This game took a bizarre turn in the first. Starter Mathieu Garon left with what appeared to be a groin injury at only 3:54 after he stretched to stop Erik Karlsson. Dwayne Roloson was forced into duty and didn’t stand up well.
Bishop was pleased with his debut.
“The guys played great in front of me,” said Bishop. “It was a bounce-back after a couple of losses and it felt good. I felt more comfortable as the game went on. It’s definitely different. My first (NHL) game in a year or so.”
Nobody wore a bigger smile than Gonchar. He halted his slump at 43 games. He took a perfect pass from Greening and tipped it past Roloson on the stick side at 9:38. It was his first goal since Nov. 12.