Lightning 4, Senators 3


OTTAWA – Martin St. Louis kept the defending Stanley Cup champions out of an 0-2 hole to start the playoffs.

St. Louis scored his second goal of the game 6:19 into the third, and the Tampa Bay Lightning battled back twice for a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night, evening the Eastern Conference series at 1-1.

John Grahame made 22 saves for his first win in four career playoff games and Tampa Bay captain Brad Richards had three points, including his first goal of the series to give the Lightning a 2-1 in the second period.

St. Louis tied it at 1 in the first and put the Lightning ahead for good 55 seconds after Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle scored to make it 3-3.

Game 3 will be played Tuesday in Tampa Bay.

Rookie Ray Emery stopped 32 shots for Ottawa, which has yet to take a 2-0 lead in 13 playoff series. The Senators were unable to win Game 2 each of the previous five times they won a playoff series opener.

Martin Havlat scored a tying goal for the second game in a row late in the second, then made a sensational play to set up Peter Schaefer’s goal which put Ottawa up 3-2 early in the third.

Boyle tied it moments later at 5:24 on a fine individual effort. Boyle spun around in the Senators’ zone to set up in the left faceoff circle, beating Emery with a shot over the goalie’s right shoulder.

Buoyed by its opening win and an enthusiastic sellout crowd of 19,745, Ottawa came close to scoring just 23 seconds in when Mike Fisher and Schaefer went in on a 2-on-1.

Senators center Bryan Smolinski opened the scoring 4:51 in when he put a rebound of Anton Volchenkov’s shot – that deflected off Senators left wing Vaclav Varada – past defenseman Pavel Kubina into an otherwise wide open right side.

St. Louis tied it at 14:36. Vinnie Prospal intercepted Volchenkov’s pass in the Senators’ zone and spun around to feed St. Louis, who drove a one-timer over Emery’s left shoulder.

Richards made it 2-1 at 7:39 of the second when he scored 42 seconds into a 4-on-4 after Fredrik Modin and Ottawa’s Patrick Eaves were sent off for roughing.

The Lightning captain skated backwards as he received a pass from Paul Ranger and caught a fortunate break to go in alone on Emery when Senators defenseman Zdeno Chara stumbled and fell as he started to drop back.

For the second time in three nights, Havlat brought the Scotiabank Place crowd to its feet.

After tying Friday’s series opener at 1 with the first of Ottawa’s four unanswered goals in the third, Havlat got his second of the series, driving a one-timer off Dany Heatley’s pass from the left corner past Grahame 17:12 into the second to tie it at 2.

Notes: Senators D Wade Redden left the team after his mother died the night before. Cristoph Schubert stepped into the lineup in place of Redden, who missed seven games late in the season to be with his family during his mother’s battle with cancer. A moment of silence was observed prior to the national anthems in memory of Pat Redden. She was 57. … The Lightning didn’t lose consecutive games during the 2004 playoffs on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. … Ottawa C Chris Kelly left in the third with an undisclosed upper body injury and didn’t return. … Senators G Dominik Hasek watched the game in the dressing room. Hasek, sidelined indefinitely by a groin injury since the Olympics, stood behind backup Mike Morrison at the end of the bench during Friday’s game.

AP-ES-04-23-06 2058EDT