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October 17, 2009

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Michalek's maiden 'trick fires Senators

RECENT arrival Milan Michalek notched his first National Hockey League hat-trick to help the Ottawa Senators move top of the Northeast Division with a 7-1 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Acquired from the San Jose Sharks last month as part of the multi-player deal for disgruntled forward Dany Heatley, the Czech winger had struggled to find form and managed just a solitary point in his first five games with the Senators.

However, he scored a goal in each period -- two shorthanded and the third on a powerplay -- to earn the Senators a fourth win in six games this season.

"Hopefully, there's many goals to come," Michalek told reporters. "It was awesome to get three goals here at home."

Elsewhere in the NHL on Thursday, it was: Capitals 4, Sharks 1; Avalanche 3, Canadiens 2; Red Wings 5, Kings 2; Blackhawks 3, Predators 1; and Coyotes 3, Blues 2 (in overtime).

In Ottawa, Alex Kovalev, Alexandre Picard, Nick Foligno and Jarkko Ruutu scored the other goals for the Senators, who out-shot Tampa Bay 35-17 in beating the Lightning for the 12th time in their last 17 meetings (12-3-2).

Daniel Alfredsson added three assists for the Senators in a performance he felt could not be faulted.

"It's a big confidence boost for us but it's one of those games that kind of got a little bit out of hand for them," Alfredsson said.

Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet was far from pleased with his team's effort.

"Two short-handed goals, it's embarrassing," Tocchet said. "We gave one up against Florida (in a win on Monday night).

"First place early in the season, two stinkers in a row, we're going to have to get to work tomorrow."

Ryan Malone scored for Tampa Bay (2-2-2), which was unable to register a third straight victory despite the return of goalie Mike Smith from a back injury.

Pascal Leclaire made 16 saves in goal for the Senators.


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