Two games is a ridiculously small sample size, but the Tampa Bay Lightning seem to have a problem scoring even-strength goals. All three of their tallies in Thursday night's season opener were with the man advantage as well as the first of two they scored tonight versus Ottawa, It wasn't until midway through the third that they were able to score at even strength, a stretch of 112:34 to start the season and a total of one such goal in 120 minutes.
"We did some good things. We did some not-so-good things. We'll look over some things and rebound before the next game." - Lightning forward Brett Connolly
The Lightning opened the scoring at 15:42 of the first with Ottawa's Eric Gryba in the box for tripping. Victor Hedman did the honors with a snapshot, getting assists from Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula. They were able to carry that lead all the way through the second intermission.
Going into the third, it started to feel that Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was going to need a shutout because in spite of generating 26 shots through the first 40 minutes (to Ottawa's 19), they weren't getting through and the Lightning were not doing a good job of generating second chances off of rebounds and activity in front of the net. Throughout the contest, defensive lapses forced Bishop to have to turn away a number of hard, uncontested, point-blank shots right in front of the crease. On the other end, Ottawa's Robin Lehner was very good throughout the night but obviously having to turn away one-and done offensive threats is a considerably less difficult task for any goaltender.
Unfortunately, at 7:34 of the third, Bishop's shutout bid was wiped away on a goal from Erik Karlsson who was assisted by Alex Chiasson and Bobby Ryan.
Less than two minutes later at 9:10, the Senators took the lead on a goal from Mark Stone who got help from Kyle Turris.
The Bolts managed to tie the game at 12:34, with considerable thanks to Ottawa's Karlsson and Clarke MacArthur who screened Lehner, as Connolly scored on an assist from Brian Boyle.
The score was tied at the end of regulation and the ensuing overtime.
In the shootout, the Senators got goals from Turris and Mika Zibanejad while only Nikita Kucherov was able to convert for the Lightning.
"When you're in a shootout, it can go either way. We shouldn't have had to go to a shootout. We gave up too many chances in the third period." - Stamkos
The Lightning's season-opening four-game homestand will continue Monday when they host the Montreal Canadiens.
- Tonight's loss breaks a streak of five regular season wins, dating back to last season.
- The Lightning were 3-1-1 versus Ottawa last season, 2-0-1 at home.
- Both team's rosters featured a first, second and third overall pick from previous drafts. Ottawa's Chris Phillips (first overall in 1996), Ryan (second overall, by Anaheim, in 2005) and Turris (third overall by Arizona in 2011) and Tampa Bay's Stamkos (first overall in 2008), Hedman (second overall in 2009) and Jonathan Drouin (third overall in 2013).
- Tampa Bay has yet to give up a power play goal, killing all four penalties against on Thursday versus Florida and the four they were assessed tonight.
- Monday's game was originally scheduled to be played in early April but a conflict with the NCAA Women's Final Four basketball tournament necessitated the change.
- The Lightning honored Graci McGillicuddy as the second Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. McGillicuddy, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Children Protection Center. McGillicuddy has been a powerful force for change in the lives of abused children in Sarasota for nearly 30 years. The Child Advocacy Center was built in 2011 under her leadership. In addition to her mission of preventing child abuse, McGillicuddy co-founded and is co-chair for Embracing Our Differences, which uses the arts to educate and inspire the values of diversity and inclusion. McGillicuddy and her husband have also been instrumental in the success of Florida Studio Theatre. They have seen the theatre grow from 700 subscribers to become the third largest subscription theatre in the nation. In 2009, McGillicuddy was presented with the Florida Senate Medallion Award of Excellence for outstanding leadership and dedication in helping to keep children safe and free from abuse. The Child Advocacy Center, built under her direction, is a nationally certified state-of-the-art child abuse facility. McGillicuddy headed the capital campaign, raising more than $6-million to build the center.