The Senators were in the game right until the end, but when the final buzzer sounded there was no relief for the Senators as they fell 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The loss extends the Senators’ losing streak to 5 games.
Tampa got on the board quickly after an Ottawa turnover just inside the Lightning blue line led to a counter-attack and Teddy Purcell taking a drop pass from Victor Hedman and wiring a shot past Robin Lehner just 23 seconds into the game. Ottawa got even while killing a penalty just after a period of 4 on 4 play. Kyle Turris picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and while the Lightning were caught on a bad change setting up their power play unit, Turrs found a streaking Clarke MacArthur who went in alone and snapped a shot past Ben Bishop just past the midway point of the period. Purcell scored his second of the game, picking up a rebound off a Hedman shot just after a that same Bolts power play had expired. Ottawa knotted it back up shorty after that, needing just 3 seconds of power play time of their own. Jason Spezza won the draw to Mike Hoffman, who slid the pass across the blue line to Erik Karlsson. Karlsson’s one-timer beat Bishop and the game was tied through 20 minutes.
Valtteri Filppula gave the Lightning their third lead of the game on a power play before the second period was 6 minutes old. He carried the puck into the Senators zone and was left unchecked after he dished to Ondrej Palat. Palat’s shot was stopped, but the rebound was a juicy one for Filppula, who had a yawning cage and no Senator within a stick length to stop him. The late in the period it became the Ales Hemsky show as he had two glorious scoring chances within a couple of minutes. First, he blew wide with a great burst of speed after taking a pass from Jason Spezza and beat the defenseman to the net, only to be foiled by Bishop’s toe on the attempted shot. Then the highlight reel was focused on Hemsky as he broke in on the defense, pulled the puck behind him and between his legs to get around Radko Gudas and then deked Bishop out of his jockstrap for one of the nicest goals of the season in any league.
Tampa re-took the lead yet again early in the third, with a backhander from Eric Brewer beating the 6’5″ Lehner over the shoulder for a goal that the Senators cannot afford to allow but all to often this season have. Tampa took their first 2 goal lead of the game when Ryan Callahan found a soft spot in the Ottawa defensive zone coverage (insert joke here) and one-timed a shot past Lehner from the slot to make it 5-3 with 8 minutes left. Ottawa got one back, with Paul MacLean pulling the goalie with 3 minutes left for the second straight game. This time it worked, Erik Karlsson’s point shot was tipped home by Milan Michalek. However, the comeback fell short as despite a furious last minute goalmouth scramble they couldn’t get the equalizer and lost yet again.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Close but not quite. I am not sure if that is more frustrating than the 8-4 drubbing the Senators took on Tuesday or not. Perhaps they are equal despite the varied way the team is finding to lose.
- Pulling the goalie with 3 minutes left is a death sentence, and I am almost mad that it sort of worked because that is positive reinforcement to do it again in the future, despite the fact that it will backfire far more often than it works. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures, but those times are gone and now it is like a mockery of the game, at least to me.
- The Senators did a good job of shutting down the red-hot Steven Stamkos, who was pointless although he did have 6 shots on goal.
Ottawa gets out of town for a little while as they head to Dallas Saturday afternoon, and then to Florida to have a rematch with the Lightning and also visit the Panthers.