By Dory LeBlanc
Last Thursday, the Lightning defeated the Senators 5-4 in Ottawa; four days later on this side of the border, the Sens returned the favor, beating the Bolts 4-3 in a shootout.
Coming off a three-game road trip with the Bolts picking up five out of a possible six points, Tampa Bay looked sloppy and indecisive in the first period Monday night, but sorted through it at the first intermission for a stronger second and third periods.
Erik Karlsson struck first for the Senators with his 20th goal of the campaign just shy of four minutes into the contest, but Nikita Kucherov took a nice feed from Tyler Johnson to even it up 1:10 later.
8:12 into the middle frame, Jason Spezza broke the tie as three Lightning players stood around the crease in what appeared to be miscommunication among them as the Senators' top center fired a shot untouched past Ben Bishop. Less than a minute later, Kyle Turris added a goal to make it 3-1.
Vatteri Filppula extended his point-streak to nine games after passing the puck to Victor Hedman on the power play whose slapshot from the point brought the Lightning within a goal with 5:44 to go in the second period.
Trailing 3-2 to start the final period of regulation, Steven Stamkos scored the Bolts' second power play goal of the night 5:44 into the period on a tip-in off of Ondrej Palant's shot. The score was sent for review to determine if Stamkos' stick had gone above the crossbar. Initially, the referee closest to the net waved the goal off, but after a group consultation, the group came to the conclusion that Stamkos' stick had indeed stayed below the crossbar, giving the Lightning captain his 229th goals in his 400th career game.
Locked in a 3-3 stalemate after 60 minutes of regulation, Ottawa and Tampa Bay headed to 4-on-4 overtime hockey. The Lightning had a major advantage to start the first 1:56 of OT as Karlsson was off after tripping Palat with four seconds to play in the third period. The Lightning played well, but could not get the puck past Sens goalie Robin Lehner despite putting four shots on him in the power play portion of overtime.
After five scoreless OT minutes, the teams headed to the shootout, with all three Lightning shooters (Filppula, Kucherov, Stamkos) missing their shots and Spezza notching his second tally of the night by beating Bishop in the shootout to hand Tampa Bay their fifth shootout loss in the past six attempts.
First Period -
1. OTT - Karlsson (Greening) 3:57
2. TB - Kucherov (Johnson, Brown) 5:07
Second Period -
1. OTT - Spezza (Michalek, Turris) 8:12
2. OTT - Turris (Michalek, Karlsson) 8:56
3. TB - PPG Hedman (Filppula, Palat) 13:26
Third Period -
1. TB - PPG Stamkos (Palat, Callahan) 5:44
OTT - Zibanejad, Turris - Miss, Spezza - Goal
TB - Filppula, Kucherov, Stamkos - Miss
Shots On Goal:
OTT - 32
TB - 38
OTT - (1) Neil - Interference, Turris - Hooking, Neil - Roughing, Greening - Cross-Checking; (2) Karlsson - Holding, Michalek - Tripping, Methot - Roughing; (3) Cowen - Tripping, Spezza - Holding The Stick, Karlsson - Tripping
TB - (1) Stamkos - Hooking, Malone - Boarding, Gudas - Roughing / Roughing (4:00); (2) NONE; (3) Carle - Hooking
Next up for the Bolts: Tampa Bay plays host Thursday, March 27th at 7:00 pm to the New York Islanders for the second time this season. You can catch all of the action on sister station 970 WFLA with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito and Dave Mishkin giving the call with coverage beginning at 7:00pm.