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Game 41 recap: Tampa Bay Lightning survive their own power play 9 times in 4-2 win over Ottawa Senators

The Tampa Bay Lightning scored just one power play goal in spite of 9 total opportunities, but played well enough at even strength to earn a 4-2 road win over the Ottawa Senators.

Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

The power play remains a serious concern, but a strong game at even strength and the continued offensive production of Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov was enough to earn the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-2 road win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.

The Lightning once again failed to get the good start they wanted when Kyle Turris found himself alone in the slot to bang home a one-timer off a pass from behind the net from Clarke MacArthur. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman both appeared to lose Turris in coverage and realized it too late as the Sens jumped out to a 1-0 lead barely 30 seconds into the game.

Tampa had three total power plays in the first period that were uneventful, as usual. The Bolts struggled to enter the zone with control, set up for shots and chances, and retrieve loose pucks. On the second advantage they were outchanced 2-0 as Ottawa nearly scored on both opportunities looking to extend their lead. There continues to be a major zone entry and shot generation problem at 5v4 that simply has not yet been addressed.

Fortunately, in the second period, the Lightning upped their clear 5v5 advantage starting with a long shift in Ottawa's end by Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov. The Bolts managed a few complete line changes while keeping the puck on Ottawa's half of the red line before Victor Hedman connected on a slap shot to tie the game 1-1 with just under 16 minutes remaining in the 2nd.

Special teams would bite the Lightning again just minutes later; while the Lightning survived the full 2-minute power play for Ottawa, Mark Stone scored in the slot just seconds after the Lightning player exited the box to give the Sens a 2-1 lead midway through the middle frame.

The powerless play finally came through for the Lightning -- ending a long drought -- with a quick wrister from the left side by Tyler Johnson following (surprise) an extended passing play around the Ottawa zone.

Steven Stamkos followed with a goal of his own, giving the Bolts their first lead of the night going around the net and extending past Kyle Turris and Robin Lehner to tuck the puck in the net for a 3-2 Lightning lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

Even with the one-goal lead now established, the Lightning continued to control the balance of play at evens, eventually earning more opportunities with their man advantage. The second unit nearly converted, with Nikita Kucherov faking a slap shot and passing to a wide-open Tyler Johnson for his second goal of the night just as the power play expired to give the Lightning a two-goal cushion at 4-2.

A couple more Ottawa minor penalties -- Tampa finished with 9 opportunities on their man advantage -- snuffed out any hope for the Sens to crawl back and the Lightning closed out the road win by a 4-2 margin.

Game Notes

  • There was a bit of concern over the following play, with Ben Bishop only recently returning after some concern with his health:
  • However, Bishop finished out the rest of the game without incident, so all's well that ends well. He finished the evening with 20 saves on 22 shots faced (.909 SV%) and looked fine after giving up a goal on the first shot faced on the night.
  • Radko Gudas went back to Tampa for further testing and missed this contest, so he'll presumably be out for Tuesday night's game in Montreal against the Habs. Nikita Nesterov skated 13:06 in his place and didn't make any memorable plays or mistakes, which is all you can really ask for out of a rookie D. When the recall was made, Luke Witkowski or J.P. Cote seemed like a better bet, but Nesterov had looked surprisingly good, if raw.
  • The Bolts did a pretty good job of controlling the puck and drawing penalties but 9 power plays (with only one conversion + another goal after one had just expired) is a lot for any team on any night, specifically on the road. The Bolts still look out of sync on their man advantage, routinely unable to gain the zone with control or create meaningful offense on the rare moments when they do get set up.