Back and Tort talk

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

TAMPA -- The Senators are going to leave the yapping to Lightning coach John Tortorella.

Tortorella, forever trying to get under the Senators' skin, fired his latest salvo following his team's 8-4 loss in Game 3 on Tuesday by stating goalie Ray Emery is Ottawa's weak link.

With the Senators holding a 2-1 lead going into Game 4 tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, Tortorella is pulling at every string to get to the opposition.

"In the third period we got to (Emery)," said Tortorella. "That's important, I think that's their weak spot. I felt the third period, that's the positive you take out of that (loss), along with some other things."

The Senators have simply chosen to ignore Tortorella.

PHILLIPS WON'T BITE

"Just by you asking me that question, (Tortorella has) gotten his way. That's what he wants to happen," said Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips. "I don't like to ever say no comment, but we'll let him do the talking off the ice and we'll do our talking on the ice ... So I guess that's not really a no comment."

Tortorella has been relentless. It started with his arrival in Ottawa before Game 1, when he declared the pressure to win the series was all on the Senators.

"He's been plugging the media all along trying to start things," said Senators winger Dany Heatley. "We're not going to bother listening to what he's saying. He's going to say stuff and he can say whatever he wants.

"I thought we outplayed them (Tuesday) to win that game and that's what we came here to do."

Many believe Tortorella was just trying to deflect criticism of Tampa starter John Grahame, who was yanked after giving up five goals on 20 shots midway through Game 3.

Goaltending has been a concern for the Lightning all year with Grahame and backup Sean Burke both struggling at times.

Senators centre Bryan Smolinski defended Emery.

"Ray Emery has been excellent for us since we came back from the Olympic break," Smolinski said. "He's established himself as the No. 1 goalie and he's had to work pretty hard to do that."

Emery will be back in the net tonight as the Senators try to take a two-game lead and give themselves a chance to wrap up the first-round series Saturday at Scotiabank Place in Game 5.

Senators coach Bryan Murray elected to have a short meeting and optional skate yesterday. He said the players realize they need to repeat the effort they had in Game 3.

"If (Tortorella) thinks (Emery) is our weak spot, then we're in pretty good shape," said Murray. "Game 4 is going to be a fresh start for everybody."


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