Senators, Emery grab 3-1 lead


So much for the Ottawa Senators being vulnerable in the first round of the NHL playoffs because of rookie goaltender Ray Emery.

Emery stopped 30 shots and Martin Havlat scored for the fourth straight game last night, leading the Eastern Conference's top seed to a 5-2 road victory that pushed the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink of elimination.

The Senators lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and can close it out by winning Game 5 in Ottawa tomorrow night.

"We've put ourselves in a good spot, but it's not said and done. We've still got to finish it off," Emery said. "We realize at home is our best opportunity to do that. We've just got to refocus for that game."

To stay alive, the Lightning has to win three straight games against an opponent it has only beaten three times in 24 meetings over the past five seasons.

Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists for Ottawa, and Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil each scored a goal.

Havlat, who assisted on Heatley's goal, has eight points in the series after missing 58 regular-season games with a dislocated shoulder.

Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards scored in the opening period for Tampa Bay, which sputtered after a strong start. Goalie John Grahame allowed four goals in 17 shots after giving up five in 20 shots in a lopsided loss in Game 3 on Tuesday night.

Despite being dominated during the 8-4 loss in Game 3, Lightning coach John Tortorella said after the game he felt his team had gotten to Emery with three third-period goals and called the rookie Ottawa's "weak spot."

Off the ice -- The Montreal Canadiwns' Saku Koivu will miss at least one game because of an eye injury, and the Canadiens are preparing for the possibility that their captain could be out for longer. Four years after winning his battle with cancer, Koivu finds himself anxiously waiting to learn what damage was done to his left eye as the result of being accidentally hit with a stick during the second period of Montreal's 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina. Montreal coach and general manager Bob Gainey said that Koivu would be out of the lineup indefinitely and that the full extent of the injury won't be known until more tests are completed in two or three days when the swelling subsides.

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