The Tampa Bay Lightning earned their 60th win of the season after defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Monday at Canadian Tire Centre.
Yanni Gourde scored twice for the NHL powerhouse, while Mikhail Sergachev, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos also added goals. NHL leading point producer Nikita Kucherov registered three assists on the night, bringing his season point total to 125. Brady Tkachuk and Max Veronneau replied for the Senators.
“I thought we had real good moments in the game and then they showed why they are the best team in the league in a lot of other moments”, said Senators head coach Marc Crawford following the game.
With the loss in their second last home game this season, the Senators record drops to 28-45-6. Meanwhile, Tampa improves upon their already dominant record of 60-15-4 and add another two points for a total of 124. Both teams have three games remaining in their regular season. The Bolts are first in the NHL, while the Senators are last. A total of 62 points separate the two hockey clubs. This is the same amount of points that the Senators have earned this season.
Shortly after killing off their first penalty of the game, the Bolts struck first on the score board. Point made an excellent cross-rink pass in the Senators zone, which found the tape of Kucherov. The highly skilled winger made no mistake slicing the puck to Gourde, who staked out a position all alone in front of Senators net. It was an easy tap-in for his 21st of the season.
With just over a minute remaining in the first period, Brady Tkachuk tied the game up when he fired a shot through Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s five-hole. It was the rookie’s 21st goal of the season, which sets a new franchise record for most goals scored by a teenager.
“Honestly, I don’t really look at what number I need to hit. I just want to get better every day and help my teammates, and just keep learning and keep playing”, commented Tkachuk after the game.
Sergachev recaptured the Lightning lead with 12:12 remaining in the second period. He ripped home a hard wrist shot from the point. This was the 20-year-old’s second point of the game.
A while later, Point scored his 41st to lift the Tampa lead to 3-1.
Shortly after the start of the third period, Zack Smith and Cameron Gaunce dropped the gloves for a spirited fight in the Tampa Bay zone. Although both players remained standing at the end, it appeared Smith managed to land a few more solid swings than his opponent.
Senators rookie Veronneau narrowed the game 3-2 with a power play goal that was an absolute snipe. Finding himself with a lot of time in close, the 23-year-old lifted the puck over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder and into the net’s ceiling. The tally was the Ottawa native’s second of the season and his first goal at home in Canadian Tire Centre.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) April 2, 2019
“You saw a brilliant shot tonight. That was big time. It was probably the best shot he’s taken while he’s played with us and it came at a great time”, exclaimed Crawford.
However, the celebration was short lived. The Lightning stormed right back to regain the lead as Gourde notched his second of the game. This goal was a game breaker, according to Crawford, which did the Senators in.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 2, 2019
“The goal that really broke it open for them was the centre ice play, they got the breakaway on Gourde’s second goal”, lamented Crawford.
- Apr. 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. In recognition of this, the game on Monday was dedicated to raising awareness and funds for this worthy cause. A donation of $5.00 for each ticket purchased was made to Autism Speaks through the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
- Prior to this game, Tkachuk was awarded the Molson Cup for best performing Senator in the month of March.
- Monday night was also a milestone night for Anderson, who suited up for his 400th career game with the Ottawa Senators. The 37-year-old goalie’s record is 191-150-44 during his time in the Canadian capital.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Yanni Gourde, Tampa Bay
- Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay
- Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay
The Senators are on the road for their next two days, before wrapping up their 2018-19 season at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, Apr. 6.
Up next is a visit to Madison Square Garden to take on ex-Senator Mika Zibanejad and the New York Rangers. The Rangers are 31-35-13 this season with 75 points, ranking them 26th overall. Ottawa is 1-1-0 this season against the blue shirts. Anderson earned a shut-out in Ottawa’s most recent game against the Rangers, which was a 3-0 victory on Nov. 29, 2018.
Cover Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Billy Morrison lives in Ottawa and covers the Ottawa Senators for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.