For the most part, the Lightning have righted their ship lately, solving many of the issues that plagued them in late February/early March. For that reason, a sloppy effort like tonight's seems even more frustrating. This remains a Lightning problem. Or is it?
"When you come off the road, for whatever reason, on that first game back, if you don't have a day off, you have one day but you don't have two days break, I haven't just watched it with us, I've watched it with a lot of teams, it's that first game back. We played Toronto, they were on a long trip and that first game back, you try and jump on teams in that situation." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
"We showed some character resilience coming back and tying that game up...but we gave ourselves some of that trouble, having a first half like we did." - Lightning forward Ryan Callahan
The problems tonight were evident early on, as at the one minute mark a terrible giveaway by Radko Gudas left goaltender Ben Bishop hung out to dry. Bishop made the stop but a theme was established. The period was a mistake-filled affair, highlighted by six giveaways by the Lightning.
Ottawa opened the scoring at 3:57 when Erik Karlsson scored on a slapshot from the top of the slot. He was assisted on the play by Colin Greening
The Lightning answered at 5:07 when Tyler Johnson stole the puck and fed Nikita Kucherov (remember him?). J.T. Brown was credited with the secondary assist.
The 1-1 tie was carried into the first intermission.
Anyone hoping that whatever was wrong with the Lightning would be rectified during the break was disappointed as they came out to begin the second period looking very much the same as they'd started the game. Just over eight minutes in, it looked like the night was going to be a complete disaster.
First, at 8:12, Jason Spezza scored on a wrister, getting assists from Milan Michalek and Karlsson.
A mere 44 seconds later, Kyle Turris scored on helpers from Mark Stone and Karlsson.
Now down 3-1, the Lightning began to bear down.
"...Ottawa hadn't won in six (games) and they're desperate. We clearly are desperate, but for whatever reason we couldn't find our legs until halfway through the second period and once we did, we were rolling." - Cooper
At 13:26, the Bolts coverted on the power play when Victor Hedman's snapshot from just inside the blue line got past Senators goalie Robin Lehner. Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat had the assists.
The Lightning were fortunate to be down 3-2 as the period concluded.
At 5:44, they finally tied the game on another power play goal, with Stamkos swatting the puck out of the air from the side of the net. It was initially waved off but that ruling was overturned after the video was reviewed. Palat and Ryan Callahan were credited with assists.
The period, as well as the ensuing overtime ended with the teams tied at three.
In the shootout, only Spezza for Ottawa was able to convert, giving the Senators the win.
"It's a little bit of everything. It's your mental sharpness, your preparation. Our battle level wasn't where it needed to be and it showed in that first thirty minutes. Like I said, we showed some character coming back and we got another point, which is big this time of year, and that's what we have to take out of it." - Callahan
The Lightning will be in action again on Thursday when they host the New York Islanders
- The Lightning are now 0 for their last 15 individual attempts in shootouts.
- The regular season series between the Lightning and the Senators concludes with Tampa Bay taking three of the five games.
- The Lightning are now 7-3-1 against Ottawa at home since the start of the 2009-10 season.
- Tonight was the 400th NHL game of Steven Stamkos' career.
- The Lightning have now picked up points in nine consecutive games, going 5-0-4 in the process.
- The Lightning's home game winning streak comes to an end at five games.
- Valtteri Filppula has a career high nine-game points-scored streak (4 goals, 9 assists). He set a new career high for goals scored in a season when he notched his 24th of the season on Saturday at Pittsburgh.
- The Lightning honored Marion Samson-Joseph as the 34th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Samson-Joseph, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Menorah Manor. Samson-Joseph has an unmatchable vision and desire to improve her community each and every day. She established one of the first community hospitals in the Tampa Bay area after she saw a dire need for improvement in the local health care system. When one of her family members was in need of drug rehab she identified a gap in that realm and founded a rehab center for addicts. Samson-Joseph has identified needs and found solutions to fill those voids, in ways that forever impact the local community. She rallied Tampa Bay residents and provided leadership to open Menorah Manor, the first Jewish nursing home in the local area. As a holocaust survivor, Samson-Joseph was instrumental in her family's founding of the Holocaust Museum. Her most significant accomplishments have been to create an excellent system of care for this region's elderly, regardless of their ability to pay.