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Past vs. Senators looming

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 19, 2003

PHILADELPHIA -- The way center Tim Taylor sees it, Monday begins a new season for the .500 Lightning, and what better way to start than by beating the Senators?

Ottawa toyed with Tampa Bay in two games, winning 6-3 and 7-0.

"I think that's a good steppingstone for us," Taylor said. "We really owe them a hockey game and a lot of guys in this room know that."

"We owe them something by really taking it to them," defenseman Brad Lukowich said. "We can't be afraid and nervous about playing them. We've got to go in with a chip on our shoulder and play like we did tonight."

A high point of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Flyers at the First Union Center was the way the Lightning battled, something not in evidence the past few games. It also was stingy on defense, allowing 11 shots in the final two periods.

It is a recipe that could go a long way against Ottawa, No. 1 in the league and the leader in goals.

"When they do get you down, they start kicking," Lukowich said, "and then they bring the bullies out and they don't stop kicking."

"This team has to come ready to play," Taylor said.

Coach John Tortorella said it doesn't matter whom the team faces Monday. "I don't care if it's a peewee team," he said. "It's an important game for us to get some points."

SVITOV A STAR: Rookie center Alexander Svitov was named to play in the YoungStars Game Feb. 1 during All-Star weekend at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise. The game of three running-time periods is for players 25 and younger in their entry-level contracts. Svitov, 20, of Omsk, Russia, has two goals, two assists in 26 games and is averaging 7:15 of ice time.

BOYLE'S RETURN: His finger is sore enough that Dan Boyle can't move it very well. Still, the defenseman has played the past two games out of necessity with a crushed knuckle on his left index finger. With center Brad Richards out two games while attending his grandmother's funeral, Boyle wanted to help pick up the slack. "I just wanted to get back in," said Boyle, who had two assists. "At this time of year we have to find a way to get points and with Richie out, I want to help out on the power play."

RICHARDS LOSES STREAK: Richards never had missed an NHL game until Friday. His streak of 208 games was the team's second longest. Rob Zamuner has the record of 226. Richards is expected back Monday.

ODDS AND ENDS: Right wing Ben Clymer (groin) and defenseman Darren Rumble (healthy) were scratched. ... Rumble was re-assigned to AHL Springfield.

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