Jacksonville Sports Day

NHL: Senator’s Fast Start at Home Takes Toll on Lightning

OTTAWA – Tampa Bay lost 6-3 to the Ottawa Senators Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

“That’s the definition of a tough loss, and I’ll tell you why. This is a really hard league to win in. When you’re put in situations where you’re playing a team on a back-to-back, kind of have to take advantage of those because there’s going to be times when you’re on the second half of a back-to-back,” said Tampa head coach Jon Cooper.

Ryan Dzingel capitalized on a Lightning turnover deep in their own zone for the game’s opening goal at 4:48 of the first period. Matt Duchene scored a little over a minute later, netting his 10th of the season for a 2-0 Ottawa lead at 5:51 of the first. The Senators took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission after Zack Smith redirected Erik Karlsson’s pass at the back post at 17:04 of the opening period.

“Can’t spot them a 3-0 lead in this league and expect to come back. Give them a little credit for coming back, but in the end, the same mistakes cost us and give Ottawa credit, they didn’t care who they were playing. They just came out and played a hockey game and won it,” Cooper said.

Despite the loss, Tampa Bay is still off to its best start in franchise history with a 29-9-3 record and 61 points through 41 games, seven points better than the 54 points put up by the 2013-14 team (23-11-4) and the 2014-15 team (23-11-4).

Tampa Bay scored a pair of goals in the first 1:41 of the second period to cut Ottawa’s lead to one. Victor Hedman netted his fifth goal of the season 26 seconds into the second period to make the score 3-1 Ottawa. Slater Koekkeok scored 1:15 following Hedman’s goal to get the Lightning to within 3-2 at 1:41 of the second period.

The Lightning converted a power play at 15:57 of the second period to tie the score 3-3, Yanni Gourde tipping Mikhail Sergachev’s shot for his 12th goal of the season.

The Senators retook the lead at 10:44 of the third period, Mark Stone netting his 17th of the season for a 4-3 Ottawa advantage and the game-winner. Jean-Gabriel Pageau pushed Ottawa’s lead to 5-3 at 14:57 of the third period. The Senators regained a three-goal lead at 17:08 of the final period, Ryan Dzingel netting his second goal of the game for the 6-3 final.

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed a season-high six goals on 33 Ottawa shots.

“I think there’s a little bit of entitlement running through our team right now. What’s a little discouraging is our goaltender who’s been, in my opinion, our MVP this year and for us to let him down like that, those goals going in the start of the period were men’s league goals, and that’s just a non-commitment to playing in your own end,” added Cooper.

Tampa Bay concludes its five-game road trip on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.

BOLTS NOTES:  Tampa Bay has scored at least one power-play goal in 31 of 41 games so far this season….The Lightning outscored the Senators 3-0 in the second period to improve their second-period goal differential to +27, the second-best goal differential for any period in the NHL….the Lightning outshot Ottawa 48-33, the 48 shots tied for the most the Lightning have put up this season….Victor Hedman led the way for the Bolts with six shots…The Lightning dropped consecutive games for just the second time this season.

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