Bolts host struggling Senators

( – The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to complete a three-
game homestand with a perfect record when they welcome the Ottawa Senators for
Saturday’s battle at Amalie Arena.

The Lightning had lost two straight before beginning the current residency
with wins over Minnesota and the New York Rangers. Both games were decided by
one goal and ended in regulation.

After edging the Wild 2-1 last Saturday, the Bolts had three days off before
hosting Martin St. Louis and the Rangers on Wednesday. St. Louis, Tampa’s all-
time leading point producer, returned to his old stomping grounds, but it was
an ex-Ranger who would lead the Lightning to a 4-3 victory.

Ryan Callahan, who came to Tampa in last season’s trade that shipped St. Louis
to New York, had two goals and an assist to lead the Lightning to the triumph.
It was the second standout performance for Callahan in as many games against
his former club. He also had two goals in his return to Madison Square Garden
on Nov. 17, sparking a 5-1 rout of the Rangers.

Steven Stamkos made quite an impact on Wednesday as well, notching a goal and
two assists in the Lightning’s fourth win in their last six outings. Ben
Bishop needed to make only 16 saves for the win.

“Another one-goal game,” said Stamkos. “We hold on and find a way to win these
games and that’s a good trait to have.”

The Bolts picked up their third straight win on home ice and own a stellar
9-2-1 record this season in Central Florida.

Tampa could get a boost tonight with the potential return of top defenseman
Victor Hedman. The big Swedish blueliner has been sidelined since Oct. 18 when
he broke a finger on his right hand in a game against Vancouver, but he was
cleared for contact earlier this week and is questionable for tonight.

The 23-year-old Hedman was off to an excellent start to the season before the
injury, posting three goals and four assists in five games.

Bishop is expected to start tonight. He played spent parts of two seasons with
Ottawa before being dealt to Tampa during the 2012-13 campaign and is 4-0-2
with a 2.55 goals against average against his old team.

In other news for the Lightning, the club traded defenseman Eric Brewer to
Anaheim on Saturday for a third-round pick in the 2015 draft. Brewer has four
assists in 17 games for Tampa this season.

Ottawa is hoping to get back on the right track tonight after losing for the
third time in four games Friday evening at Florida. The Senators carried a 2-1
lead into the third period against the Panthers, but the home team skated away
with the 3-2 victory.

Sean Bergenheim tied the score at 2-2 just 34 seconds into the final stanza
and less than seven minutes later Jimmy Hayes provided the game-winner for the

Craig Anderson played well in defeat, allowing three goals on 46 shots. Ottawa
failed to win the shot advantage in any of the three periods and the Panthers
outshot the Sens by a 34-13 margin over the final 40 minutes of play.

“We have a very good goalie,” said Sens coach Paul MacLean. “The rest of the
group [was] not even close to being acceptable.”

Chris Neil had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, while Cody Ceci provided the
other goal.

The Sens have lost two of three (1-2-0) to begin a five-game road trip and are
5-6-1 as the visiting team this season. Ottawa will complete its swing Tuesday
against the New York Islanders in the opener of a home-and-home set.

Ottawa has won two straight and three of the last four meetings in this series
and posted a 3-2 shootout win in Tampa on Oct. 11. The Sens also have taken
two straight on the road in this series after dropping the previous three at
Amalie Arena.