"Look where all the goals were scored. We had life today, it was a big effort from an extremely short-handed team." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
When does a dry spell become a drought? Either way, offensive slumps are usually the result of a combination of things and not a single factor. For their part, the Lightning have shown a tendency to be outshot. Not a big deal when a high percentage of the shots taken go in, a huge problem, and one the team has acknowledged repeatedly that it needs to solve, when they don't. They were shut out in their previous two games and for a third time in their last five. During a first period in which they would muster only five shots, tonight's prospects for turning things around didn't look very bright.
"You give yourself a chance to win a game when you score a couple goals." - Lightning captain Marty St. Louis
The Bolts broke the seal at 16:45 of the first, tallying the only goal in the period, when Ondrej Palat took the puck behind the Ottawa net and zipped a pass in front to St. Louis who swatted it home. Matt Carle picked up the secondary assist,
At 6:11 of the second, the Senators tied it when Kyle Turris got the puck to Patrick Wiercioch whose shot pinged off the post and landed behind Lightning goalie Ben Bishop. It would be the only goal Bishop allowed on the night, as he went on to stop 33 of the 34 shits he faced.
The Lightning regained the lead for good at 13:19 of the second as Palat once again darted behind the net and found St. Louis waiting in front. Tyler Johnson also picked up an assist on the play.
The Lightning would carry the 2-1 lead into the third period. However, they would be without the services of defenders Victor Hedman and Keith Aulie who both suffered injuries. Aulie, with what turned out to be a fractured hand that will require surgery, while Hedman is considered "day to day" with a lower body injury and is not expected to play on Saturday against Winipeg. With Radko Gudas (who may return on Saturday) and Eric Brewer scratched, the team had only dressed seven defensemen to start the night.
"I think we can call it the Syracuse Lightning now, I think there were more guys in the training room than the locker room." - Cooper
Valtteri Filppula added an insurance marker, scoring unassisted at 10:56 of the third to make the final score 3-1.
The Lightning will be in action again on Saturday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets.
- This was the first of five meetings between the Lightning and the Senators. The Lightning will face the Senators and Detroit (five each) more than any other teams in the NHL this season.
- The Lightning are now 17-20-1 with two ties against their former expansion mates on home ice.
- With two goals tonight, Marty St. Louis ties Jason Arnott of the Rangers for 91st place on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 938 points. Next up is Patrick Elias with 944.
- Filppula's goal was his 10th this year to give him 20 points on the season after 28 games. He scored 17 (nine goals, eight assists) in 41 games last year with Detroit.
- The Lightning honored Eric Johnson as the 14th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Johnson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Trinity College of Florida, Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco County, Pasco Education Foundation, Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation of Florida and the Center of Independence. Johnson grew up poor in rural Hillsborough County, one of eight kids and the first in his family to graduate from high school. In his third year as Marine Special Ops, a training accident broke Johnson's back. He was discharged after two years in rehab that left him permanently disabled with a degenerative spinal column. Johnson graduated from the Trinity College of Florida, earning his Master's in History at USF, and then started teaching in high-poverty schools. By expanding his student's horizons through technology, hands-on projects, community service and historic trips, Johnson helps develop young minds in numerous ways. He was the Florida History Teacher of the Year in 2013 and also won the Nobel Distinguished Educator award. Johnson has a unique gift of putting caring into action through projects and thousands of volunteer hours. He engages his students to do fundraisers to help instill entrepreneurial skills and help offset trip expenses.