Sports Outside the Beltway

Crushed- Ottawa Senators beat Tampa Bay Lightning 7-1

Are the NHL’s two worst teams now residing in the Sunshine State? From AP-

Milan Michalek made Ottawa Senators fans forget about high-scoring Dany Heatley — at least for one night.Lightning-Senators

Acquired at the start of training camp in the deal that sent Heatley to San Jose, Michalek had his first three-goal game in the NHL, scoring twice short-handed and once on a power play in Ottawa’s 7-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

“To see all the people standing and clapping for me was an awesome feeling,” said Michalek said. “Hopefully, there’s many goals to come.”

Michalek shoveled a rebound past goalie Mike Smith with Tampa Bay on the power play in the first period. The big Czech winger then beat Smith again on a short-handed breakaway early in the second, helping the Senators to their fourth win in five games.

“Two short-handed goals, it’s embarrassing,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “We gave one up against Florida [in a win Monday night]. I know it’s only Game 6, but when you give up three short-handed goals in two games, there’s going to be some video, there’s going to be some talking and there might be some changes.”

Tampa was outshot 35-17, making it appear they are still inadequate at the position of defenseman. That was the team’s biggest weakness during the 2008-09 NHL season.

Tampa is 2-2-2 so far this year. The Florida Panthers are 1-4. Most hockey prognosticators, plus myself, would have had these teams reversed in their predictions for this far into the season. I’m not giving up on the Panthers yet. After a 4-3 start last year they went through a dozen game stretch where little went right. The Panthers then rallied to almost make the playoffs. Hopefully tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers will spark a turnaround for my favorite NHL team.

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