Lightning, Sens still fighting mad

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

TAMPA -- Now this is a playoff series! Lots of goals, with the teams getting physical.

The bad blood was boiling between the Senators and Lightning in Ottawa's 8-4 win last night in Game 3 at the St. Pete Times Forum as the two teams combined for 129 penalty minutes.

With Game 4 tomorrow, the Senators believe this is only going to get more physical as the Bolts try to tie the series before coming to Ottawa on Saturday.

"We knew they were going to be tough," said coach Bryan Murray. "I don't know if you should ever hate anybody, but I think that type of game was what we needed because it had a lot of intensity."

Actually, it turned a little ugly at the end. Zdeno Chara had a tussle, with Vinny Lecavalier while Dany Heatley and Nolan Pratt went for a dance. Chara may have spared Lecavalier's life when he held back on punching the downed Lightning star.

Through all of this, Senators winger Chris Neil was in the Bolts' kitchen and had virtually everybody after him.

"Was what happened really important?" asked Chara. "We knew this was going to be a physical series. There's not much you can say. Both teams are trying to win here."

Neil looked pleased that he got under the skin of the Lightning. He was jumped by Chris Dingman in the third and the result was a seven-minute power play.

"He just started punching me," said Neil. "I don't know what was happening. Obviously, we're going to have to be ready because we know that the next game is going to be tough."

LEAVE 'EM ALONE: Lightning coach John Tortorella is getting tired of all the penalties being called and his club has only played three games. While Tortorella claimed he was speaking with respect for the job officials have to do, he doesn't like the fact there are so many power plays -- including 15 between the two teams in last night's game. "I say just let the players decide the outcome. I know they want to keep the standard that was established during the regular season and I understand that," said Tortorella. "But, I want the players to decide the outcome because in the end that's the way it should be. It shouldn't be the coaches, it shouldn't be the managers and it shouldn't be the officials either. I'm not criticizing the officials or trying to be derogatory towards the referees because I know they've got a job to do. I just don't like the calls that are iffy. I don't mind the blatant stuff. They need to make those calls." NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and director of officiating Stephen Walkom have said that the standard that was used during the regular season would be upheld during the playoffs.

STILL ON OTTAWA: Tortorella didn't stop there. He also fired a shot at Senators GM John Muckler, who told the Sun on Monday that the pressure is now on the Lightning because the series has moved to Tampa. "I read where the GM up there has been saying some things about me and I'm surprised he'd even be listening to what I have to say," said Tortorella. "But the pressure does not switch in a series as (Muckler's) suggested. It has been on Ottawa from the start. That team has been expected to win a Stanley Cup since the start of the year and those fans up there expect them to win this series.

"I say this, with all due respect, because they've got a helluva hockey club. But the pressure is on Ottawa and it's going to stay there throughout."

Senators coach Bryan Murray wasn't going to get involved in a war of words. "(Tortorella) likes to talk about pressure. That's fine. We know what our team has to do," said Murray.

HASEK WORKING OUT: Senators G Dominik Hasek, who has been out for 10 weeks with an adductor muscle injury, spent a long time working out off the ice with strength coach Randy Lee yesterday during the morning skate. There is no timetable for Hasek's return, but he hasn't been on the ice in the last four days.


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