Prospal: Lightning must bury chances

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

The Senators, it can be argued, are only where they are today by a couple of inches.

Before Ottawa's offence got untracked in the third period of Game 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning threatened time and again to run away with a win.

The Bolts twice hit the cross bar. A third shot, off Vinny Prospal's stick and headed for a yawning cage, deflected high and away off teammate Ruslan Fedotenko's stick.

Had one or all three of the close calls gone against Ottawa, the result might have been entirely different.

"It was that kind of game for us," Prospal, who was robbed by Ray Emery on a 2-on-1 just before Fedotenko got in his way, said following Tampa's practice at the Bell Sensplex yesterday.

"After we get the first goal we hit a couple of crossbars, I had that basically two-shot chance.

"It was the difference between losing 4-1 and putting up a little bigger fight by scoring more goals.

"We cannot expect to beat this team with only one goal."

Prospal, a former Senator, is coming off another huge season. He scored 25 goals and 55 assists, playing most of the time with Vinny Lecavalier and Fedotenko.

FOND MEMORIES

Even though limited ice time in his final days here had him eager for the move that came, he looks back fondly at this time in the nation's capital.

"My son was born here," he said. "That's always going to stay with us. He's Canadian. We'll always cherish the memory ... he knows he's from here, we tell him all the time.

"We spent three years here. That's something special.

"In this kind of business, you have to move on. There are not too many players in the NHL who stay in one place their whole career."

Prospal says Tampa did prove a point in Game 1.

"All the people don't give us a chance in this series, but we know we can play with this team and we showed it (Friday) night," he said.

"Even though we lost the season series 4-0, I think we showed during the season as well we can play against them.

"I've been here when we lost in the first round against Toronto. It's not easy on anybody. It doesn't matter if it's Ottawa, Tampa, New Jersey or Carolina. There are always going to be some upsets."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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