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Bolts down Senators in Saturday matinee

The Tampa Bay Lightning continued their short road trip on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. Following Thursday’s disappointing overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bolts headed for Ottawa for an afternoon showdown. Tampa Bay was without Mikhail Sergachev in this game. Sergachev received a 2 game suspension for an illegal hit on Mitch Marner in Thursday’s loss.

Redemption on Hedman’s mind early against Senators

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has faced criticism for his play in Thursday night’s defeat to Toronto. With under a minute left in that game, it was a Hedman turnover that resulted in the game tying goal for the Leafs. The Bolts eventually lost that decision in overtime. Hedman came out determined to change the narrative Saturday against the Senators.

Early in the first period on Saturday, Hedman did his best to silence the criticism. At 4:11, Dylan Gambrell took a slashing penalty against Taylor Raddysh. Following an offensive zone face-off win, Steven Stamkos set Hedman up for a one timer from center point. Hedman converted with the help of an Ottawa tip, and the Lightning lead 1-0 4:27 into the game.

Following Hedman’s goal, Tampa Bay went roughly 12 minutes without registering a shot. During this stretch, the Lightning took a penalty of their own as Jan Rutta hooked Connor Brown. The penalty kill was successful, and Brian Elliott denied the few chances Ottawa generated. The Senators were the more aggressive team out of the gate and lead 13-4 in shots, but it was Tampa Bay holding onto a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Senators, Bolts flip script in the second period

The Lightning came out in the game’s second period with all the momentum, much improved from the way the first period ended. But it didn’t take Ottawa long to battle through it and knot the score at 1. Cal Foote lost a puck battle in the defensive zone, turning it over to the stick of Connor Brown. Brown found himself alone against Brian Elliott and converted an unassisted goal at 1:39 to tie the game.

The Lightning continued to play well in the period. Unlike the first, the shots throughout the frame heavily favored Tampa Bay. The score remain tied until another Bolts defenseman found the back of the net from center point. This time, it was Jan Rutta’s turn. Setup by Ondrej Palat after a face-off victory, Rutta snapped a clean wrist shot over the pad of Matt Murray to give the Lightning another 1 goal lead.

The score remained 2-1 and Tampa Bay continued to control the pace of the game. The Bolts appeared to be headed to the locker room again with a 1 goal lead. But new Senators captain Brady Tkachuk had something to say about that. With just 42 seconds remaining in the period, Tkachuk gave the Senators life and tied the score at 2 by converting a 2 on 1 chance past Brian Elliott. In a script much unlike the opening period, the Lightning dominated shots 18-5 in the second, but Ottawa had closed the gap and the teams went into the third period deadlocked at 2.

Lightning captain answers in third

Early in the third period, the Lightning found themselves shorthanded once again. Alex Killorn took a penalty for cross checking just 1:47 into the frame. Tampa Bay again generated multiple shorthanded opportunities on the penalty kill and escaped the 2 minutes without allowing Ottawa to take the lead.

The score remained tied until Lightning captain Steven Stamkos answered the goal by his counterpart from the end of the 2nd period. In a sequence started by Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn fired on Matt Murray from center point. The shot rebounded to the stick of Steven Stamkos, who skated to Murray’s left and found the open net behind him, giving Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead.

The Lightning penalty kill had to get to work again later in the period when Jan Rutta took an interference penalty at 9:07. Once again, Tampa Bay’s penalty killers held strong and kept the Senators off the scoreboard.

At 18:19, Ondrej Palat put the game out of reach. Anthony Cirelli dished the puck to an uncontested Palat entering the zone, and Palat converted past Matt Murray to give the Lightning a 4-2 lead. An immediate timeout was taken by Ottawa and Murray was pulled from the goal for the extra attacker. Ottawa could not generate any substantial pressure, and Anthony Cirelli added an empty net goal to make it 5-2. The Senators did strike again with 15.5 seconds to go as Logan Shaw scored unassisted, but it would not be enough. This one goes to the good guys, 5-3.

 

Three stars of the game:

  1. Steven Stamkos (1G, 1A)
  2. Brian Elliott (very solid fill in performance, which is no easy task as Andrei Vasilevskiy’s backup)
  3. Victor Hedman (PPG)

 

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