Riding a season-high five game win streak, the Tampa Bay Lightning went into Ottawa with momentum. That proved to be key, as the Bolts scored a couple of late goals to produce their second comeback win in this four game road trip.
After giving the Senators three of a possible four points so far in the season series, Tampa Bay needed to prove themselves against a hungry but bad team. It wasn’t easy, as Ottawa took a one goal lead just before the second intermission, but they mounted a comeback during the final 20 minutes to extend their win streak to six games. Not only that, the Lightning went 6-0 in this recent stretch against Atlantic Division opponents to extend that streak to 14 games.
Shattenkirk Sets the Tone
The Lightning came out ready to play. A big hit by Kevin Shattenkirk early on sent a message to the Senators that Tampa Bay wasn’t going to back down. That set the tone for a chippy game, one where your head had to be up at all times.
It didn’t take long for momentum to swing back Ottawa’s way. Erik Cernak got a little over-aggressive and was sent off for interference just past the 10 minute mark. Thankfully, the penalty killers did their job and the Senators were held off the scoreboard.
After a hit by Andreas Englund left Cedric Paquette shaken up, Pat Maroon took matters into his own hands. He engaged Englund in a heavyweight battle that saw the veteran land a couple of punches before the referees ended things.
The Lightning looked to be gaining momentum as the first period wound down. A faceoff win by Tyler Johnson led to a chance for Steven Stamkos. He drew a slash from Cody Goloubef, giving the Bolts a man advantage late in the period. It didn’t start out well, with the Senators Chris Tierney getting free for a shorthanded attempt that slid wide as the horn sounded to end 20 minutes of play.
Special Teams Miscue Leads to Senators Goal
With almost a full two minutes of power play time carrying over, the Lightning looked to draw first blood. They failed miserably, allowing Tierney and Connor Brown to get loose. Tierney’s attempted pass deflected off Victor Hedman‘s skate and into the net to give the Senators a 1-0 lead.
Quick Strikes Put Lightning in Front
Shortly after his shorthanded goal, Tierney got loose on a breakaway. Goaltender Curtis McElhinney calmly turned that chance away to give the Bolts life. Yanni Gourde protected the puck until he could find Hedman. The defenseman then found rookie Carter Verhaeghe for an easy tap-in with Senators netminder Craig Anderson leaning to his left to tie things at one.
Under two minutes later, the Lightning scored again to take the lead. Ondrej Palat forced a turnover and carried the puck into the zone. He then passed the puck back to Brayden Point, who had it poked off his stick right to Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk’s shot from the point eluded Anderson to give Tampa Bay the slim 2-1 lead.
More Special Teams Trouble
After getting the lead, old (bad) habits set in. Nikita Kucherov took an inexcusable tripping penalty in the offensive zone and the Senators pounced. Jean-Gabriel Pageau deflected a shot past McElhinney to tie things at two on the power play.
Defensive Miscues Lead to Late Goal
With the Lightning hemmed into their own zone following the Pageau goal, it was only a matter of time before someone made a mistake. A bad line change gave Ottawa a golden opportunity, but McElhinney made the saves needed to keep things tied. Then, what looked to be a harmless play ended up being the tie-breaking goal. Mark Borowiecki danced into the zone, stopped and fired a laser past the Bolts goaltender to give the Senators a 3-2 lead with seven seconds remaining in the middle frame.
Line Blender Pays Off
Trailing entering the final frame, Lightning coach Jon Cooper switched the lines up a little bit. He put his top guns in Kucherov, Point and Stamkos together. That worked, as those three had lots of offensive zone time and created numerous chances throughout much of the final 20 minutes. Their hard work paid off, with Point taking a pass from Mikhail Sergachev, making a move and firing the puck past Anderson to knot the game at three apiece.
Playing for overtime wasn’t what Tampa Bay wanted. If the opportunity presented itself, they had their sights set on denying the Senators one point in the standings. Johnson’s goal with a minute and a half remaining gave the Bolts a chance to complete the comeback.
Cool Play, Then Killer Strikes
Soon after Johnson’s score, the Senators fired a shot off the crossbar. All five Ottawa players crashed the net looking for the rebound. Colin White saw the puck come down and instinctively headbutted it into the net soccer style. While the Senators celebrated tying the game, the referees quickly waved the goal off, as a player can’t score a goal with any part of their body.
Deflated from the disallowed goal, the Senators didn’t mount much of an attack after pulling Anderson. The Lightning, meanwhile, had all kinds of opportunities to seal the deal. Most missed the mark until Alex Killorn fired a puck from the boards into the empty net to put the finishing touches on a 5-3 comeback victory.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- Brayden Point: One goal on the night but was creating a number of other chances.
- Curtis McElhinney: 22 saves on 25 shots. Stopped multiple breakaways and 2-on-1’s to keep the Lightning within striking distance.
- Kevin Shattenkirk: A goal and a big hit to set the tone.
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