With their playoff hopes long gone, the Ottawa Senators have been relegated to playing spoiler. They've already dealt the Tampa Bay Lightning a disheartening defeat in the last week.
The Lightning look to exact some revenge and avoid losing for the eighth time in 10 games Saturday night when they visit the Senators, who are seeking their fifth win in seven contests.
Tampa Bay (39-22-10) is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and seems to be in good shape to earn its first playoff berth since 2007, with a comfortable lead over the teams just outside the top eight.
The Lightning are scuffling, however, going 2-4-3 this month. They squandered a chance to increase their lead over sixth-place Montreal on Thursday, falling to the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.
"We're still fighting," coach Guy Boucher said. "If you would have told us (last) summer that we would be fighting with teams like Washington, Boston and Philadelphia at this time of the year, I don't think anybody would have believed us."
Although the Lightning are not far behind some of the East's elite teams, two or their most recent losses have come against two of the conference's bottom feeders -- Ottawa and Florida.
Tampa Bay fell to the last-place Senators 2-1 at home last Friday. Martin St. Louis providing the Lightning's lone goal when he tipped in a rebound 2:56 into the third period.
Ottawa (26-36-9) opened the scoring midway through the first period on Jason Spezza's power-play goal, and Bobby Butler scored 53 seconds into the second. Curtis McElhinney made the lead hold up, stopping 34 shots in his Senators debut.
McElhinney was claimed off waivers from the Lightning on Feb. 28. He never played for Tampa Bay, which obtained him four days earlier in a trade with Anaheim.
McElhinney made his second start for the Senators on Thursday and turned aside 33 shots in a 3-1 win over New Jersey, Ottawa's fourth victory in six games.
"It's kind of nice to make things tough for other teams," said forward Chris Neil, who had two third-period goals after scoring three times in his first 68 games.
Ryan Shannon opened the scoring for Ottawa on Thursday with a power-play goal in the first period. The Senators have scored on the power play in a season-high five consecutive games.
Penalty killing has also spurred Ottawa's turnaround, as the club has denied 44 of 48 chances over the last 13 games. One of the four goals in that stretch was St. Louis' last week.
St. Louis assisted on both goals by Simon Gagne and Teddy Purcell on Thursday, and has two goals and eight assists during a six-game point streak. St. Louis has scored in each of his last three games against Ottawa.
Dwayne Roloson hasn't had as much luck against the Senators lately, going 1-5-1 with a 3.14 goals-against average in his last seven matchups. He made 20 saves last Friday.
Despite posting a 1.91 GAA in his five most recent starts, Roloson has gone 2-1-2.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.