TAMPA -- Brian Elliott put the Lightning in a bottle.
The Senators goaltender posted his first career shutout, stopping 20 shots as Ottawa halted a two-game skid with a 3-0 win over the Lightning last night at St. Pete Times Forum.
Yanked less than 24 hours earlier, after giving up four goals in 21 shots to the Thrashers, Elliott redeemed himself.
So did his teammates.
Winger Dany Heatley had a goal in his 500th NHL game, while Ryan Shannon and Jason Spezza also scored as the Senators at least managed to keep their playoff hopes on life support.
The Senators overtook the Maple Leafs for 11th in the East, but are 10 points back of the Canadiens for eighth with seven games to play.
This was Elliott's night to shine. Heatley, celebrating his own milestone, handed the game puck to his goalie.
"(A shutout), that's what you go for every night. To finally get one, it feels pretty good," said Elliott, who has had previous shutout chances slip away. "I've got to give credit to the guys in front of me ... I just had to make a couple of saves.
"I really didn't feel I played too bad (in Atlanta). It's a case where the whole team was a little off and it looks bad on the goalie. Having the chance to redeem myself was definitely what I wanted."
Cory Clouston's decision to come back with Elliott was surprising, although the coach wasn't happy with any of his players Saturday night, and didn't want to single out the goaltender.
Last night, Elliott was very good and a bit lucky.
He took a shot off the head from Vinny Lecavalier midway through the second that bounced and hit the post before Elliott was able to cover it. He also made two good pad saves in the third with the Bolts trying to get back in it.
"It's the kind of character he is. He is well on his way to becoming a top-end goaltender," said Clouston.
PASSED TEST, BIG-TIME
"The only way you can test that is to put him in these situations. I thought he was very solid. He didn't have a lot of chances against, but when he did he was very good."
The skaters can also take credit. Tampa didn't even have a shot during a 5-on-3 for 34 seconds with Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson in the box. The Senators killed all four penalties on the night.
They put it away when Spezza scored his 30th of the season on a two-man advantage at 16:41 of the third.
Shannon gave the Senators a 2-0 lead at 13:44 of the first during a scramble in front of Karri Ramo. The Bolts goalie made the initial save, but when defenceman Matt Lashoff tried to sweep it away, he ended up putting the puck in his own net.
Heatley opened the scoring with his 35th of the season at 9:45 of the first with the Senators on another power play. He took a pass from Mike Fisher and fired a blast by Ramo high on the glove side to give the club a much-needed confidence boost after the debacle in Atlanta.
"Elliott made some big saves. That was a two-goal game for the most part and if they had gotten one, it could have been different," said Heatley.
While the Senators know they're longshots for the playoffs, they refuse to give up.
"We're going to keep fighting right to the end," vowed defenceman Chris Phillips.