Senators 3, Lightning 2

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OTTAWA – Martin Havlat helped Ottawa finish off defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay in five games Saturday night, scoring a power-play goal in the second period and adding an assist in the Senators’ 3-2 victory over the Lightning.

Peter Schaefer and Andej Meszaros scored first-period goals and Ray Emery made 26 saves for Ottawa, which won the series 4-1 to advance past the first round for the fourth time in nine straight playoff appearances since 1996-97.

Evgeny Artyukhin and Brad Richards scored in the second for the Lightning, who twice drew within one in the period, but were unable to tie it.

Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle was penalized for tripping with 3:34 left in the third with 20 seconds remaining on a Tampa Bay power play. The Lightning got their fourth and final man advantage with 55 seconds left, but failed to generate the equalizer as the 20,004 fans came to their feet with an explosive cheer when Ottawa cleared the puck out of its zone with less than 10 seconds remaining.

Havlat had a goal in every game of the series. Limited to 18 games during the regular season because of a groin injury and a dislocated shoulder, the Czech right wing had 10 points during the five-game series.

Dany Heatley had two assists and Jason Spezza had one to give the Senators three 10-point scorers in the series. Emery made his fifth straight start of the series for Ottawa, the top seed in the East.

The Senators, who won for the fifth time in 13 playoff series, will face the lowest seed remaining among Montreal (seventh), Philadelphia (fifth) and Buffalo (fourth) once the first round is completed.

Tampa Bay veteran Sean Burke stopped 35 shots in his first playoff start since April 26, 2002, when he and the Phoenix Coyotes were eliminated from the playoffs by San Jose. Burke replaced John Grahame in each of the previous two games – both losses – in Tampa Bay.

Havlat set up Schaefer to open the scoring 12:53 in. Schaefer appeared to have scored his second of the game moments later but a video review determined that he did not make contact with the puck with his stick after he kicked it ahead twice before it went into the net off Burke’s left pad.

The crowd roared its displeasure at the reversal, then switched back to jubilation mode again shortly thereafter when Meszaros scored his first career playoff goal at 15:44 with a slap shot from the point to put the Senators up by two.

Artyukhin got his first career playoff goal 1:37 into the second to cut the lead to 2-1.

With Ruslan Fedotenko off for tripping, Ottawa converted its fourth of five power-play opportunities in the first two periods when Spezza and Heatley combined to set up Havlat, who was left alone in the slot to take Heatley’s quick pass from the right corner and put a shot past Burke at 15:02 to make it 3-1.

Tampa Bay battled back once again as Richards scored his third goal in four games with 1:45 left in the second to make it a one-goal game again.

Emery stopped Vincent Lecavalier’s backhander from the faceoff circle on a break down the right side 8:26 into the third.

Notes: Burke appeared in one game with Philadelphia in the 2003-04 playoffs, allowing one goal while replacing the injured Robert Esche for the last two periods of a 7-2 win over Toronto on May 2. … Boyle went to the dressing room briefly in the second after he was struck in the face by the puck on Schaefer’s clearing attempt. Boyle returned to the bench moments later. … Havlat had seven goals and 21 points in 41 playoff games prior to the series.

AP-ES-04-29-06 2156EDT

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