Havlat makes Sens nearly unbeatable

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

TAMPA -- How much does Martin Havlat mean to the Senators?

The Senators have a 19-3 record in 2005-06 with Havlat in the lineup.

"He brings an element of speed and he's got such great skills," Senators coach Bryan Murray said yesterday.

No kidding. Havlat looked like he was ready for a trip to the beach as he strolled into the dressing room yesterday.

Relaxed in a blue golf shirt, khaki shorts and a big smile following an optional skate, the Senators winger might have summed up the saying: "Life is good."

And, in Havlat's case it couldn't be better. Back after missing 59 games with a shoulder injury he suffered Nov. 29 against the Canadiens, Mach 9 has been flying in these playoffs.

Senators GM John Muckler believed Havlat could make a difference in the post-season, but nobody would have predicted the success he's had against Tampa.

With Game 4 set for tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, Havlat has four goals and two assists in three games and he hopes to keep rolling.

"You just want to keep having success," said Havlat. "It's important to help the team win."

Havlat wondered aloud to coach Bryan Murray following his first two games back following the injury if the NHL had mandated that the nets be made smaller during his absence.

Havlat was only kidding, but he needed a goal to get his confidence back and if John Grahame is in the Bolts net tonight that will be good news for the Senators.

"I'm really glad that he's able to find out for himself that the nets are just as big as when he left," said Murray. "What I've really liked about (Havlat) is the fact that he's been able to step up for us and get the job done. That's what you need to have success."

Getting Havlat back in the lineup has given the Senators options. Playing on a line with Peter Schaefer and Mike Fisher, the trio has been the most dangerous unit against the Lightning.

But Murray said if the Senators are going to win this series they need everybody. That's why a call was made to the likes of captain Daniel Alfredsson, centre Jason Spezza and winger Dany Heatley.

What Havlat can do is open up space for other people.

"If they are going to key on Havlat, then what I hope is that gives other players the opportunity to have success," said Murray.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Tampa D Dan Boyle won't have any family or friends in the stands for Game 5 in Ottawa. He told his parents to stay away because he didn't want them getting abused by Ottawa fans at Scotiabank Place. His brother, Mark, wore a Boyle jersey at Game 1 and took some verbal shots from the Ottawa faithful. He scored a goal in Game 2 with family in the stands. "My family is pretty superstitious so they're not coming to any games," said Boyle ... Senators G Dominik Hasek was on the ice yesterday for the first time since last Thursday. He didn't go down a lot during his short stay on the ice -- and when he did it was gingerly -- but did try the odd stretch ... Ottawa C Chris Kelly (lower body) will decide today if he's capable of playing in Game 4. If he can't, expect to see D Christoph Schubert moved up front and D Brian Pothier will be placed back in the lineup ... Tampa coach John Tortorella wouldn't name his starting goalie for tonight, but it's expected to be John Grahame. "We're not putting the onus on John," said Tortorella. "There are a number of things we need to correct." Asked if Grahame has given the Lightning good enough goaltending to win this series, Tortorella responded: "Yes, he has."


Videos

Photos