The Tampa Bay Lightning fought back from a 0-2 deficit against the Ottawa Senators to seal the victory in overtime, 4-3 on Sunday at Canadian Tire Centre. The Florida team was on a mission to win on the same night that both hockey clubs were playing their 2,000th NHL game.

Tampa’s win propels the first place Eastern Conference team to a record of 10-3-1 and 21 points. They are only one point behind the NHL leading Nashville Predators. Meanwhile, the Senators drop to 5-6-3 with their loss in extra time, but add an important point on the campaign, bringing their total up to 13.

Senators’ Strong Start

A day after being humiliated by a 9-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the Senators looked more themselves against Tampa Bay. Following the Sabres game, Senators head coach Guy Boucher knew his team could play better. He said, “Their [Buffalo’s]battle level is much higher than ours, and that’s not like us….We need to prepare for the next day… It was all about finishing the right way, and having a better third, and having to get ready for tomorrow [versus Tampa]”.

In the first period Sunday, Boucher’s words appeared prophetic. The Senators opened the game outshooting the Lightning 13-8 and took a two-goal lead by the end of the first period. Both goals were scored off nifty passing plays on the man advantage, which is not an easy task to accomplish against Tampa. Entering this game, the Lightning’s penalty kill was ranked first in the league at 93.3 percent. On 49 attempts, the Bolts have only surrendered three power play goals this season. For perspective, Ottawa nearly matched that total in the first period of this game.

Ottawa’s improved power play this year speaks volumes to the work and changes made by Boucher. Last season, their power play was broken and ranked 27th in the league at 16.6 percent. Through 14 games this year, the Senators power play is humming along nicely, ranked fifth in the NHL at 27.3 percent.

Lightning Strikes

Ottawa’s strong start caused a storm to form over the first intermission. Shortly after the puck dropped to start the second period, Cedric Paquette lit the lamp to get the Lightning on the scoreboard. The goal seemed to stun the Senators, who eventually handed over the game to Tampa Bay.

Before long, the energy and momentum had shifted away from Ottawa. The Senators’ strong first period was long forgotten, as Tampa hemmed the home team in their own zone for most of the second and third periods. The Lightning used their experience, depth, and confidence to control the play, possession, tempo, and pace of the game. By the end of the second, they held Ottawa at two goals, while cutting the lead in half, and impressively taking over the shot count, 22-21.

The third period was nearly identical to the second. Mathieu Joseph tied the game early with his first NHL goal. From there, the Bolts carried the offensive pressure for most of the time. The shot count tells the tale: the Bolts outshot the Sens 21-4. In this period alone, they nearly doubled their shot count from the previous two periods.

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Poor defence forced Senators goalie Craig Anderson to be stellar once again. The young Ottawa team has come to rely on nightly heroic performances from their 37-year old netminder. In this game, Anderson earned the second star, stopping 41 of 45 shots, for a 4.03 Goals Against Average and a .911 save percentage.

Crazy Finish

The storm was in full force by the end of the third period, and with about five minutes to play, the game transcended into a howling finish. Matt Duchene uncharacteristically- and absolutely- hammered an unsuspecting Dan Girardi along the boards in Ottawa’s end. A crowd quickly formed, but unbeknownst to many of the players, the play was never stopped.

Taking advantage of this situation, Senators Mark Stone slyly picked up the puck and skated the length of the ice into Tampa’s zone. Looping back, he got slammed from behind by a vengeful Girardi. As the puck squirted loose, Chris Tierney picked it up and sauced it to a wide-open Cody Ceci, who gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead late in the third.

Shortly after, the referees blew a slashing call on Mikkel Boedker. On the pursuing power play, the Bolts capitalized to tie the game 3-3, when Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki failed to clear the zone with 27 seconds remaining. It was an astounding sequence of events that set the two teams up for overtime, where Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde– freshly off signing a new six-year contract- made quick work of a rebound shot off Anderson.

Snap Shots

  • Ottawa’s all-time record after 2,000 NHL games is 899-837-115-149
  • The Senators and Lightning will meet again this week on Saturday, November 10 in Tampa Bay.
  • Thomas Chabot is second amongst defensemen in the NHL with 17 points (3G, 14A) in 14 games played. He trails only Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point for the league lead.
  • The Ottawa Senators will achieve their 900th franchise victory with their next win.

Official 3 Stars of the Game

  • Brayden Point, Tampa Bay (1G, 1A)
  • Craig Anderson, Ottawa (.911SV%)
  • Mark Stone, Ottawa (2A)

Up Next

The Ottawa Senators welcome the New Jersey Devils to Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday, in their second of a three-game homestand this week.

Scoring Summary

Period Team Score Time Goal Assists
1 Ottawa [PPG] 1-0 4:55 Bobby Ryan (4) Mark Stone (8), Thomas Chabot (14)
1 Ottawa [PPG] 2-0 14:49 Max Lajoie (5) Ryan Dzingel (4), Mikkel Boedker (7)
2 Tampa Bay 2-1 0:38 Cedric Paquette (2) Ryan McDonagh (7), Adam Erne (3)
3 Tampa Bay 2-2 3:04 Mathieu Joseph (1) Anthony Cirelli (2), Anton Stralman (6)
3 Ottawa 3-2 15:16 Cody Ceci (2) Chris Tierney (10), Mark Stone (9)
3 Tampa Bay [PPG] 3-3 19:33 Brayden Point (8) Tyler Johnson (5), Ryan McDonagh (8)
OT Tampa Bay 3-4 0:14 Yanni Gourde (6) Brayden Point (9), Ryan McDonagh (9)


Cover Photo Credit: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.

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