The Washington Capitals dropped an overtime decision to the Hurricanes and the Leafs fell at the hands of the Bruins to give the Sens a little more cushion (8 points) over the pack of teams pursuing the final playoff position.
The bad news is the 6th place Devils and 5th place Flyers each picked up two points of their own.
The Senators struck first in this one as Sergei Gonchar finished off a text book cycle play. The goal, set up by Greening, was Gonchar's first in 43 games. The Sens were able to stretch their lead to two after Greening found himself wide open in front of Dwayne Roloson. Just 53 seconds after that, Kyle Turris beat Roloson to give the Senators a three goal cushion.
Much like in Florida on Sunday, the Sens were guilty of letting their foot off the gas in the second period. Ryan Shannon scored early in the middle frame and Tim Wallace cut the lead to one moments later.
With Tampa Bay controlling all the momentum, Colin Greening went toe to toe with Keith Aulie in one hell of a tilt, giving Greening the Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Aulie may have got the decision but he also ended up with an extra two minutes. Erik Karlsson scored his 16th of the year and slowed the Tampa momentum.
In the third, Erik Karlsson was called for tripping and the league's leading goal scorer made the Sens pay as Stamkos beat Bishop high over the glove for his 48th of the season and giving Tampa Bay life in the process. After a questionable goalie interference call on Stamkos, Milan Michalek buried his 30th of the season.
Michalek would add two more into the empty net to cement a 7-3 win for the Senators.
Ottawa now returns home to take on the East leading Rangers on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.
- During the second intermission, Ian Mendes spoke with Tim Murray. He mentioned that while Lehner was disappointed to be returning to Bingo the organization let him know he could be back up at any time. Murray also mentioned that they would like to have Zibanejad return to North America once his SEL season is done in early April. Murray did not seem overly concerned about the possibility of burning a yea on Mika's entry level contract should they decide to insert him into the NHL line up.
- Tim Murray also mentioned that they are looking at the NCAA free agent class. The Sens will continue to chase the "top guys" and if they can add a player to improve organizational depth, they will. Will try to chase down the names of some of the potential targets tomorrow.