One that got away

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

This time, the Senators scored on half their shots in the third period.

The bad news is they only had two of them.

Can you say lame?

"We get the lead three minutes into the third and it's almost like we tried to protect it too much, that we were in too defensive of a mode," captain Daniel Alfredsson explained after last night's 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game that was tied 2-2 through a pair of periods. "It's tough to turn the switch back on."

Especially when you're stumbling around in the dark.

Up 1-0 in the series, the Senators instinct was not so much killer as it was to be the polite and gracious host. They opened the door and let the Lightning back in the series. They allowed Tampa 36 shots on goal for the second time in three nights, and this time they managed only 24 themselves.

BOLTS HUNGRIER

Most disturbing was the way they played -- or didn't play -- in the third. After scoring on four of 12 shots during the final period in Game 1, only Peter Schaefer (goal) and Patrick Eaves put a puck on the Bolts net in the last 20 minutes of play on this night. And that included nothing in a 1:37 span at the end with Ray Emery lifted for an extra attacker.

"They were definitely more hungry in the third," said Mike Fisher. "They played a lot smarter, and they were moving their feet more."

How does a team lose it's appetite at this time of year? Because two shots on goal isn't even being peckish.

Often is the case that, as Alfredsson goes, so goes the Senators.

The opposite is also true.

Alfredsson had no shots on goal all night -- or 14 less than Daniel Briere had for the Sabres on Saturday night vs. Philly -- only the fifth time that has happened all season.

The Senators have now lost four of those five games.

"On the power play I had some chances, but I missed the net," he said. "I didn't get myself into position to get some shots tonight.

"What happened, happened," he added. "We've got to get better."

Maybe they can, now that they don't have the frightening prospect of taking a two-game lead to worry about.

Starts and Stops:

An innocent bystander on the winning goal, Anton Volchenkov also helped out on both first-period scores. His point shot was deflected from Vaclav Varada to Bryan Smolinski for the initial Ottawa tally, and his giveaway to Vinny Prospal led to Martin St. Louis' tying effort ... There is a drawback to having Chris Kelly play with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, too. On one first-period shift he was presented with two open nets, but couldn't get his stick on the puck either time ... "I didn't know that until just now," Tampa goalie John Grahame said of the fact he saw only two pucks in the third. "I was just focused on whenever I did get a shot, to make the stop. It was a good job by the team." Still think somebody should have brought him a magazine to flip through, too ... Prospal would have needed an extra bag or two of ice for the flight home. On his first shift, he was knocked on his butt by Kelly and sent limping away from a blocked shot off Zdeno Chara's stick. Then in the third, Fisher drilled him right in the sore shoulder, and Prospal was in obvious pain when he reached the bench.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

And the Bolts thought they had reason to complain about the officiating in Game 1? A tripping call on St. Louis by Jim Peel in the second period gave the Senators the power play that they used to score the 2-2 equalizer. From our seat, it wasn't even clear St. Louis touched Fisher, let alone put a stick on him ... Hopefully, before the next playoff game here, somebody will make the right decision to scrap the slow Lenny Kravitz Believe tune and replace it with a pre-game song that would actually pump up the crowd ... Not sure if there's ever been a quicker 2-on-1 to start a playoff game than the Fisher-Schaefer break 20 seconds in. And that was after Vinny Lecavalier beat Fisher on the game-opening draw.

Between Periods:

Marty Havlat's goal came courtesy of some hustle by Spezza, who beat three Bolts to the puck to wipe out an icing call ... That move Brad Richards made to score Tampa's second goal -- haven't we seen it some place before? Oh, that's right, it was almost identical to the deke Havlat put on Grahame to score in Game 1 ... Kelly hit the post after a setup by Spezza in the second ... "I was skating around during the warmup and all my buddies (in the crowd) were wearing Sens jerseys," said Dan Boyle, who looked a lot like Bobby Orr in scoring the tying goal for Tampa. "That's pretty interesting." Interesting or brutal, if it's the same Ottawa buddies he's fixing up with tickets for Games 3 and 4.

Butt Ends:

Now there's a fan who obviously read Chris Stevenson's piece in Sunday's paper about Tim Taylor stealing the Game 1 puck and tossing it in the garbage before the Senators could collect the souvenir for Emery. He held a sign that had a trash can and the words Tim's Cup ... Bolts defenceman Nolan Pratt was quick to collect the winning puck last night ... A cheque for $78,000 was presented by Jeff Hunt and Cyril Leeder to the parents of Sebastien Savage, the former 67's winger who is a quadriplegic after an on-ice incident in October. The money was raised by the Hockey Country on-line auction. Get this: the jersey that fetched the most was not a Sidney Crosby or a Mario Lemieux, but one that belonged to Colorado Avalanche rookie Wojtek Wolski when he was a Brampton Battalion.


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