Sens on skid row

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

TAMPA -- The Senators didn't go down without a fight last night.

But the result was the same.

After the Senators mounted a heroic third-period comeback and picked up a point, Vaclav Prospal scored in the shootout to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Senators at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson carried the ball with a three-point effort and defenceman Wade Redden, making up for an earlier gaffe, sent the game to overtime by tying it at 18:39 of the third period. Not since a stretch from Feb. 22-March 9, 1996, have the Senators lost this many straight.

As they head to Fort Lauderdale tonight to face the Florida Panthers, the Senators are left scratching their heads and looking for answers.

"I was pleased with the game overall," said Senators coach John Paddock. "We came out and played hard, the way we wanted to play from start to finish.

"We played a pretty good team. We are happy with the point at this point, but we would have liked two."

Redden picked up a rebound and fired it into an empty net with an extra attacker on the ice at 18:39 of the third. Only 36 seconds earlier, Alfredsson was left alone in the slot and fired a bullet past Johan Holmqvist to cut the Bolts' lead to one goal.

"We tried hard all game long," said Alfredsson. "Nice to see we got rewarded. We would have loved to have won it in the shootout, but we are happy to get the point.

"We're finding ways to come back. We've done a great job to battle back. That's a good sign that we're all pulling together. That's a sign of things to come."

The goals came after a third-period outburst by Senators goalie Ray Emery. So incensed and frustrated was the Senators goalie, he swung his stick at Tampa's Mathieu Darche because he was upset with the amount of traffic in his crease. Fortunately for Emery, he missed Darche, but he still might get a call from NHL VP Colin Campbell.

Emery had to make some big stops down the stretch. Once again, the Senators blueliners were shaky.

EMERY COMPLAINED

Emery complained long and loud to referees Mike Hasenfratz and Ian Walsh about Tampa's Vinny Lecavalier being in the crease on Filip Kuba's goal at 9:08 of the third that gave the Bolts a 3-1 lead. Emery said something to one of the officials and was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty when the Senators were trying to get back into the game. Emery had a valid argument, but the officials didn't want to hear from him anymore.

"He's there by himself. I tried to slide across and ran into him in the crease," said Emery. "In my estimation, you're not allowed to stand beside the goalie and block him from making a save. I don't know whether that's got to do with it being Vinny Lecavalier or someone else and he gets the benefit of the doubt. I thought it was a big play."

Alfredsson's 18th goal of the season on the power play was a huge boost for the club. With Redden struggling early and taken off the point with the man advantage, Alfredsson fired a rebound past Holmqvist on a one-timer at 7:05 of the third to cut the Bolts' advantage to 2-1.

LINES JUGGLED

Paddock shook up the team's units before the puck was dropped. He shifted forwards on the club's top three lines and changed all of the defensive pairings to see if the Senators would be better in their own end against the Bolts' offensive threats.

Holmqvist was strong in the net in the first two periods, but the Senators didn't get a lot of memorable chances either. Ottawa went a stretch of 16 minutes in the first and second period without even registering a shot. Redden, who has had a tough time after a strong start, continues to mystify. What can explain his giveaway that led to the opening goal by Darche in the first?


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