Connect with us


Surly Lightning Lose to Cellar Dwelling Senators

Photo Courtesy of Tampa Bay Lightning

Without a doubt, the Tampa Bay Lightning burned all the video of Saturday’s embarrassing loss at the hands of Matthew Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers. Hosting the Ottawa Senators tonight at Amalie Arena, the Lightning are looking to redeem themselves from the gruesome performance against Florida. The only similarity between Ottawa and Florida is that they each have a Tkachuk. Beyond that, the Senators are the opposite of the Panthers. Little brother Brady is not as detested as Matthew is in Tampa. Ottawa is the 8th place team in the Atlantic Division that only has eight teams. Frankly, the Lightning could not ask for a better opponent after the Saturday night debacle. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy is in net for Tampa and will be looking for redemption himself from Saturday when he was pulled after the second period. Calvin deHaan is back in the lineup after missing the last five games. For Ottawa, Anton Forsberg is between the pipes. Besides Tkachuk, the Senators other offensive threat is Tim Stutzle. 

Come Out Strong

If the Lightning were going to help us all forget the Florida game, they had to come out strong. Though they did score the first goal Saturday in the first 24 seconds. Then the Panthers scored nine unanswered goals before the Lightning scored another goal. Through the first 10 minutes of the period, the Lightning did dictate most of the play. 

Well, so much for that strategy as the initial push by the Lightning didn’t change the scoreboard. In fact, by the halfway point of the period, Ottawa seemed to be gaining confidence at the fact that they took a really good punch from Tampa but didn’t give up a goal. That confidence was on display as they earned some good zone time in the Lightning zone and Stutzle scored the game’s first goal. 

The Lightning were really trying to answer that goal with one of their own. Instead, the Senators took the puck and went up ice. Claude Giroux made a nice pass to former Lightning Matthieu Joseph who was streaking on the opposite side. Joseph snapped the puck past Vasilveskiy to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead. 

After coming out in the first few minutes like their hair was on fire, the Lightning had six shots on goal in the first five minutes of the period. The Amalie faithful could feel a goal coming. It didn’t. For the remaining 15 minutes of the period, the Lightning were only able to muster one more shot on goal. 

The Time is Now

As the second period is about to get under the the tension is evident. If the Lightning had not lost so badly on Saturday, the urgency in this game would not be at the same level as it feels. If this game isn’t going to get away from them, the time is now. They cannot afford to go down by three goals. Scoring the game’s next goal is job one in this period. 

Any urgency that the Lightning may have had was disguised extremely well. Through the first half of the second period, they only added three shots on goal while allowing the Senators five more. There was a fight early in the period. Mikey Eyssimont dropped the mitts with Jacob Bernard-Docker. A couple of jabs from both but no haymakers as they wrestled each other to the ice.

The game started to have some chippy moments. Erik Cernak exchanged some verbal pleasantries with Ridly Greig after Greig attempted to hit Cernak but merely bounced off Cernak like a gnat. It appeared that Cernak wanted to make sure Greig was not hurt. Then Mitchell Chafee was headed off the ice and Stutzle interfered with Chafee. Well, that didn’t sit well with Chaffee who took Stutzle down in a WWE piledriver move and added a cross check for good measure. Both players received offsetting penalties. 

One of the criticisms fans had of Joseph when he was with the Lightning was that his speed was a double edged sword. Sure, he can still flat out beat any defenders down the ice but it seemed like he couldn’t finish to light the lamp. Well, it appears he has learned how to finish. Beating Lightning defenders down the ice, he snapped another goal past Vasilevskiy. Ottawa now had a 3-0 lead. 

This game appears dangerously close to heading to the L column for the Bolts unless they can get a puck or three past Forsberg. Chaffee found the puck on his stick and himself all alone in point blank range. He didn’t make a mistake and hit the top shelf to cut the Ottawa lead to 3-1. That is how the period ended. 

Now or Never

A two goal deficit for the Lightning isn’t insurmountable but with only one regulation period left, it would be a challenge. What they need is to score the next goal. What they need to avoid is to allow another Ottawa goal. 

Four minutes into the period, Vladimir Tarasenko scores on a 2 on 1 odd man rush. This made the score 4-1. Now, it may be insurmountable. The Senators on the bench were still high fiving their fourth goal when Brayden Point answered with the Lightning’s second goal.

Down 4-2 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation is definitely a challenge. Down two with less than 4 minutes is worse. A little under four minutes to go and it is still 4-2 Ottawa. This is when Jon Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy for the extra shooter. The Lightning had some chances but the Ottawa defense and Forsberg came up big. 

Despite the push by the Lightning fueled by desperation, the game ended in a 4-2 loss. Even though it was about half the goals given up in Saturday’s horrible loss, this loss hurts twice as bad. It’s one thing to lose to Florida who took first place in the division Saturday night. It’s a different story when you lose to the cellar dwellers. The Lightning have now lost two consecutive home games.

Three Stars 

  1. Matthieu Joseph – 2 goals
  2. Tim Stutzle – 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. Mitchell Chaffee – 1 goal, 5 hits. 

What’s Next

Thursday night, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visit Amalie Arena. Puck drops at 7:00 pm.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *