TAMPA -- Ray Emery was totally unaware he had been revealed as the Senators' "weak spot" until yesterday morning.
"I guess that's one of the dangerous things ... a lot of guys are going to use that as motivation," said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, referring to John Tortorella's diss of the Ottawa goalie after Game 3. "(Emery) obviously did tonight."
Indeed, the 23-year-old rookie was under fire early and often in a thorough 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, a win that gives the Senators a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Building off the "momentum" found in an 8-4 loss, the Bolts outshot Ottawa 13-7 in the first period.
That's when they scored their only two goals -- one credited to Marty St. Louis during which Emery was knocked over by teammate Bryan Smolinski; the other off the stick of Brad Richards that the goalie didn't see from its origin because Zdeno Chara was in the way -- and should have had more.
The "weak spot" didn't give the Lightning a sniff the rest of the way, turning aside the remaining 19 pucks he faced in the final 40 minutes.
"He kept them in the game for the first two periods," said Lightning veteran Tim Taylor.
"We had our chances," said St. Louis. "We've got to find a way to score some goals."
"We came at them hard from the start," added Fredrik Modin. "Momentum was on our side and they took it back."
And whaddya know? This time Tortorella was left talking about the weak spot in the other net.
"It's deflating, 16 shots and four goals, let's call a spade a spade," the Tampa coach said of John Grahame's performance before he was replaced by Sean Burke to begin the third. "I'm a little tired of the 25% rule."
Will we see Burke in Game 5 tomorrow night?
"Damn right we will," said Tortorella.
Starts and Stops:
Phillips, who scored Ottawa's second goal with a bullet to the top corner and led all Senators with four hits when his night ended after 40 minutes, limped to the dressing room at the second intermission favouring the knee that kept him out of the last 11 games of the regular season. "I was getting dressed to come back," he said, "but when (Chris Neil) scored early in the third, it helped me make the right decision." Phillips expects to play tomorrow when the series returns to the Bank. "Basically, we have to go into it like it was Game 7," he said. "We're back home, and the last thing we want is to come back (to Tampa). We've got to seal the deal." ... Jason Spezza had the great finishing touches and Dany Heatley drew the lone assist, but deserving as much or more credit for Ottawa's first goal was Wade Redden. He broke up a close-in, odd-man opportunity for the Bolts to start the play ... Spezza returns home from a two-game trip to Florida with seven points and 10 through the first four games of the playoffs. Remember when Ottawa guys wearing No. 19 would disappear in the playoffs? Remember, more recently, when Jacques Martin wouldn't use Spezza in the post-season?
Battle-scarred Mike Fisher took five stitches under his right eye and "six or seven" over it after being hit with a Peter Schaefer shot in Game 3. He had to spend plenty of time icing the wound just so he could play with a full face shield last night. "I probably will go to one. Why not?" he shrugged yesterday morning when asked if the incident would turn him into a visor wearer ... Talking about Fisher in the morning, coach Bryan Murray cracked: "If he can't see his right winger (Marty Havlat), the left winger will get all the passes." Schaefer, his left winger, shot down any conspiracy theories. "It doesn't matter, the puck always ends up on Marty's stick anyway," he said. "I just hope he can see one of us." ... In beating the Bolts by a combined 13-6 this week, the Senators also handed Tampa its first back-to-back playoff losses since it started its Cup run in 2004. The stretch covers 27 games.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm:
Emery had his hand raised after Spezza ran into Burke late in the third period. Wonder if he was signaling to his buddy a thank you for giving a Lightning goalie something he's been getting plenty of the last two games? ... A few minutes later, Neil's hustle to beat an icing call caused Dan Boyle to draw two for hooking ... When no fewer than 14 members of the media crowded around Chris Dingman's stall after the morning skate to ask him about being banished to the press box for his undisciplined play in Game 3, Richards looked over at the scrum incredulously and chuckled. "That corner (of the dressing room) usually doesn't get used that much," he said to rookie Ryan Craig, who couldn't get to his spot beside Dingman.
In attendance and drawing a big ovation was Tampa Bay Bucs fullback Mike Alstott ... Daniel Alfredsson generally never has a problem with anything written about him. He takes the bad with the good, fully understanding reporters have a job to do. All of which is why it was surprising he had "a bone to pick" with Cheapseats yesterday morning. "You wrote that I deserved an assist for putting the puck on (Paul Ranger's) stick (in Game 3)," Alfredsson said, talking about Tampa's second goal that night. "I didn't put it on his stick. I shot it, he caught it and then he scored." Alfredsson smiled and added: "I still deserved an assist, but I would have thought you saw that." ... Already this series, rookie Chris Kelly has been hospitalized and listed as a game-time decision for an "upper-body" injury and a game-time decision for a "lower-body" injury. When asked after the a.m. skate if he'd be playing in last night's game, Kelly replied: "We'll see how it feels tonight." How what feels? "My body." Clearly, it was good enough, as the rookie logged 13:24 of ice time, including 4:44 on the penalty kill ... Former Renegade Demetrius Bendross, who will have a tryout with the Alouettes next month, is currently playing for the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. The Storm practise at the St. Petes Time Forum and have a locker room across from the Lightning, yet Bendross wouldn't know Lecavalier if he tripped over him. "I wouldn't know any of those guys," said Bendross. "I watch the Senators, though. I recognize some of those faces." Conveniently, he had to run out for practice before we could test him.