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Lightning rookie only positive in bad loss

Karri Ramo was supposed to be holding space and perhaps gaining a little knowledge while watching his new teammates go about their business.

But the rookie goaltender was holding his own Saturday night in his NHL debut - and making a couple of brilliant saves - for the Lightning during a 5-2 loss to the Senators at Scotiabank Place.

"Not bad," Ramo said. "When I went in, I was just looking to stop my first NHL shot to start my career. After that I felt pretty good."

Ramo, 20, called up from AHL Springfield because Marc Denis was in the United States with visa trouble, got the call 8:06 into the game after Johan Holmqvist allowed three goals on seven shots in a four-goal Ottawa first.

It was Holmqvist's second straight poor outing after winning seven of his previous nine. And it was the third straight loss for Tampa Bay (13-12-2) and fifth straight in Ottawa, where it is 1-15-0 since 1998.

The first period wasn't pretty as the Lightning allowed a shorthanded goal for the second straight game, and defenseman Paul Ranger was benched after his part in two Ottawa goals.

But give it up for Ramo, who entered cold. He gave up two goals, but one came after Ranger's bad defensive play and another on Antoine Vermette's breakaway. Ramo made 16 saves while the Lightning got back into the game with second-period goals by Eric Perrin and Vinny Lecavalier.

Tampa Bay, outshot 11-7 in the first period, had a 36-25 advantage by the end of the game.

Playing Ramo wasn't in the game plan (and he will be sent back to the minors today as Denis rejoins the team), but the experience should be invaluable.

"They need to earn it," coach John Tortorella said. "You come up, you play a couple of games, you're sent down. You come back, maybe play four or five games, you're sent down. Then you slowly get it. We do an injustice to some players when we give it to them right away and don't have that proper foundation."

Ramo seems to have that and made a dazzling save on Jason Spezza with less than four minutes left in the first period. That was about the only good thing that happened in the period.

Ottawa went ahead 1-0 at 2:47 in on Patrick Eaves' goal after Dan Boyle's defensive-zone pass hopped over Ranger's stick, clipped the skate of teammate Ruslan Fedotenko and went to the Ottawa right wing.

It was 2-0 on Joe Corvo's power-play goal at 6:49 and 3-0 77 seconds later when Vermette, at the side of the net, flipped the puck backhanded through his legs and got it past Holmqvist, who did not hug the post.

The Senators made it 4-0, and Ramo gave up his first NHL goal, with 3:39 remaining when Ranger joined Filip Kuba behind the Lightning net and left Spezza alone in the slot.

Tampa Bay outshot Ottawa 17-9 in the second period. Perrin, playing for the second game with center Brad Richards and childhood friend Marty St. Louis, scored his seventh goal. Lecavalier scored his 13th.