Brady Tkachuk scored twice and picked up an assist as the Ottawa Senators kept the Tampa Bay Lightning winless on the road, 5-2. Former Bolt Mathieu Joseph scored the game-winner late in the second period as Ottawa pulled away. The two-goal performance by Tkachuk was his second straight in just as many nights as the Senators improved to 2-1.
The Bolts got off to a shaky start in the first period and were unable to regain momentum for the second night in a row. Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring in a first-period dominated by the Senators. Ottawa outshot Tampa Bay in the first period, 17-3, as the Bolts defense continued to struggle as they did the night before in Detroit.
Another strong second period comes up short
Tampa Bay rallied in the second period, scoring twice on goals by Anthony Cerelli and Tanner Jeannot. Cerelli answered the call with his goal one minute into the period. The Cerelli line (which includes Jeannot and Michael Eyssimont) had four points tonight.
Tkachuk responded midway through the Senators to put the Senators back on top.
The Bolts were outshot again in the second, 15-10, but seemed to be gaining much-needed momentum. Tanner Jeannot scored his first goal of the season to draw Tampa Bay even with Ottawa giving the Lightning a much-needed boost.
ALLLL TIED UP pic.twitter.com/LdeLFRluVf
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 16, 2023
That boost was short-lived as Joseph found the net with just a minute left in the period to put the Senators up 3-2.
“We didn’t feel like we gave them a whole lot (during the first period),” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It was taxing in the first period. But we came out in the second and I liked our game.”
“It was a tough goal to give up with a minute left. Again, they catch a break. We get a stick on it, it goes right to Joseph, and it’s in the net.”
Ottawa pulls away despite a strong third period by Tampa Bay
The Lightning tried to find a spark to start the third period and ended up outshooting Ottawa, 11-6. However, it was the Senators who found the back of the net during the period with Tkachuk scoring on a backhander and Tim Stutzle scoring on an empty net.
With Steven Stamkos out of action tonight, the bigger names on the roster found themselves in the minus column. Nick Paul (-3), Brayden Point (-2), and Brandon Hagel (-2) were relatively quiet throughout the night. Point was held to one shot in 20 minutes of ice time.
Nikita Kucherov (-2) had four shots but could not sound the horn as he went pointless after a strong start to the season.
Defensively, Tampa Bay continues to look for some stability as they are off to a rough start to 2023-24. Darren Raddysh and Victor Hedman were the bright spots tonight with an assist each.
“We had our looks. We just need more production,” Cooper went on to say. “You just can’t be giving up four a night. It’s not a recipe to win.”
The Bolts fall to 1-2.
Tomkins is sold in NHL debut
Matt Tomkins opened up his NHL career with an overall impressive performance in net for Tampa Bay, stopping 33 of 37 shots. The 2012 seventh-round pick by Chicago has kept his dream to play in the National Hockey League alive through stints in college playing for Ohio State University, the AHL, the ECHL, and last year in Sweden.
Cooper had high praise for the Bolts rookie tonight, who with netminder Jonas Johansson are tasking for filling the large void left behind by the injured Andrei Vasilevskiy.
“Our goaltenders have been great! It kind of sucks for Tommer (Tomkins),” Cooper lamented. “His NHL debut and I thought he did great!”
“He gave us a chance. On a night where we needed a couple more goals, we didn’t.”
Cooper marks his 800th career game
Tonight marked the 800th career game coached for Bolts skipper Jon Cooper, all with the Tampa Bay Lightning. His coaching debut began in March, 2013, and the two-time Stanley Cup champion coach continues to find ways to motivate his players. His total career NHL record is 481-252-67 overall.
Three Stars of the Game
Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa: Another impressive performance from Tkachuk with his two-goal night and three points total. He singlehandedly stole the momentum the Lightning were building in the third period with his fourth goal of the season.
Mathieu Joseph, Ottawa: While Tkachuk took the momentum back in the third, Joseph did the same in the second with his game-winning goal against his former team.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Ottawa: Tarasenko set the tone with his game-opening goal and adding a key assist on Joseph’s game winning goal.
The Lightning look to bounce back Tuesday night as they wrap up their three-game road trip in Buffalo to play the Sabres. Game time is a 7:30pm.
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