Sens bolt past Tampa

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

TAMPA -- Dany Heatley took a major step on the road to 50 goals last night.

On a night the Senators officially booked themselves a spot in the NHL's post-season dance with a 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Ottawa winger gave himself a chance to make history.

Heatley continued his quest for back-to-back 50-goal seasons by netting his 44th and 45th of the season against the Bolts to go along with one assist.

"You guys are going to keep asking me, and I'm going to keep telling you, I'm just going to keep shooting," said Heatley, who's trying to become the first NHLer to have consecutive 50-goals season since Pavel Bure in 2000-01. "I thought (Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson) did a good job of getting me the puck. I will say one thing: I'm closer now than I was when we started out today."

Joe Corvo and Christoph Schubert, who each had three-point nights, Dean McAmmond, Daniel Alfredsson and Patrick Eaves also scored for Senators (45-23-8).

"We're getting contributions from everbody, especially our supposed fourth line," said Senators coach Bryan Murray.

Ottawa also stayed four points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the No. 4 position in the Eastern Conference playoffs and home-ice advantage in the first round.

The Senators, who earned seven of a possible eight points on this road trip, got another strong performance from goalie Ray Emery.

Tampa starer Marc Denis, who allowed five goals on 23 shots, was chased in favour of callup Karri Ramo after Eaves scored his 13th of the season at 2:12 of the third.

Ottawa took control in the second after Dan Boyle's second goal of the game tied it up at 2-2 only three minutes into the period.

First, Heatley tipped a point shot by Corvo past Denis at 12:41 on the power play.

Then the Senators had Schubert step up when he one-timed a pass at the top of the circle by Denis on the stick side at 14:07, making it 4-2.

Heatley's second goal completed a three-goal Senators onslaught in the third.

Alfredsson chipped in offensively with his 27th, which gave the Sens a 2-1 lead. Earlier, Corvo opened the scoring at 2:38.

Boyle's first of the game at 14:57 of the first on the power play tied it 1-1.

Ottawa is now set for its 10th straight playoff appearance, tying the New Jersey Devils for the third-longest active streak behind Detroit (16) and Colorado (11).

"It's nice to get a playoff spot locked up," said defenceman Chris Phillips.

The Senators now return home to face the Boston Bruins Tuesday at Scotiabank Place. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


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