Havlat: 'That was awful'

Tampa Bay Ligntning defenceman Dan Boyle pumps his fist after scoring a goal against the Ottawa...

Tampa Bay Ligntning defenceman Dan Boyle pumps his fist after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators in the third period last night at Scotiabank Place. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

The Senators didn't have to look far to find their own worst enemy last night.

It was right there in the mirror, staring them in the face.

The Senators had a chance to send the Tampa Bay Lightning home reeling with a victory in Game 2 of their first-round series last night at Scotiabank Place.

But instead, the Senators gift-wrapped a couple of goals and suffered a 4-3 loss that allowed the Bolts to tie the East quarter-final 1-1. Now it's on to Tampa for Game 3 tomorrow, then Game 4 on Thursday.

"We gave them the game," said winger Martin Havlat, who saw a goal and an assist wasted last night. "We just gave it to them by making a lot of mistakes and that's what hurts the most. That was just awful to lose that way."

After taking a 3-2 lead on a goal by Peter Schaefer at 3:21 of the third, the Senators let the Lightning dictate the play the rest of the way. First, Dan Boyle tied up at the 5:24 mark, then Martin St. Louis notched the winner 55 seconds later.

"We just want to keep playing," said Lightning coach John Tortorella, whose club never lost two straight games during its run to the Stanley Cup in 2004. "We're surrounded by a lot of people who doubt us and nobody even gave us a chance to win a game.

"We believe that we can play with this team. We have a team here that finds ways to win. Now, we have a series. We have two teams that are going to go toe-to-toe. I'm just happy we found a way to win this game."

There's no way Ottawa is going defeat the defending Stanley Cup champions if all it can muster is two lousy shots in the third period -- especially with John Grahame in net.

That's what happened last night, with Tampa holding a 36-24 edge in the final shot count. The Senators have never led 2-0 in a playoff series and the players knew they blew an opportunity to change history last night.

"Nobody here ever thought we were going to sweep these guys in four games. We know we've got talent and we respect that team a lot," said Ottawa defenceman Zdeno Chara.

"We know that we can play better as a team and we're aware we have to do a better job against these guys. We have to do a better job of battling and we have to play our game."

But goalie Ray Emery wondered out loud if he has to be better as well. He couldn't be blamed for St. Louis' opening goal, which came after a horrible giveaway by Anton Volchenkov.

CASHES IN REBOUND

St. Louis' winner came when Emery kicked out a fat rebound and Volchenkov wasn't back quick enough to jump on the loose puck.

"I don't think we played well in the third period, but I've got to be better. I've got to come up with some big saves," said Emery.

The Senators even took the lead on a goal by Bryan Smolinski at 4:51 of the first and came back from being down 2-1 on Havlat's goal at 17:12 of the second.

However, they couldn't hold the lead after Schaefer's go-ahead effort. That's what concerned them the most. The Senators have been rock-solid all season when leading in the third.

"I don't know if (the Bolts) wanted it more," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We just made too many mistakes and we know we've got to play better as a team."


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