As a guy that's been around, Sergei Gonchar should know better.

Not only was he in the box when Steven Stamkos scored the winner late in the third period Tuesday, but he also took a bad penalty at an inopportune time earlier in the game. Following the 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, coach Paul MacLean wouldn't blame the officials for the fact Ottawa took the seven penalties that disrupted any chance of establishing a four-line flow. Of Gonchar's retaliatory slash on Richard Panik, he blamed the player, not the refs.

Gonchar wasn't taking the same stance a day later.

"Believe me, it wasn't that hard," he said. "I didn't try to kill the guy. I just kind of let him know ... if you look at the play, I hit him on the wrist and he went down like he was killed. I think it's more diving than anything.

"Obviously I would like to take it back, but at the same time I don't think it was as bad as it was looking."

Either way, special teams should go a long way in determining the winner Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.

The Senators overworked penalty killers could be severely tested against the Philadelphia Flyers, who by far and away own the best home power play numbers in the league. That means Ottawa's own power play has to respond in like.

The Senators did snap out of a horrendous power play slump when Guillaume Latendresse scored with B.J. Crombeen serving two early in the third. How do they build on that?

"We're not shooting puck enough," said Gonchar. "We have the skill up front, we're passing the puck, but we're not shooting it enough."