The Ottawa Senators needed this one more.
It's tough to assume that the Tampa Bay Lightning have taken their opponents lightly since an important, playoffs-clinching victory over the Montreal Canadiens, but on Thursday night, the team that needed the victory more got it in overtime.
The Sens jumped out to an early lead with a Mark Stone tally just five minutes into the game off a rebound of a long try by Kyle Turris. A penalty-laden first period gave the Lightning a few chances to equalize, which they did when Jonathan Drouin finished off a nice play that started off with some wall work by Valtteri Filppula and ended with a nice cross-ice pass from Anton Stralman.
1-1 is where the game would remain, with both Andrew Hammond and Ben Bishop making some nice saves to keep the game tied through the second and third periods. The Bolts blue-line -- victimized a bit in Toronto without steady contributors Jason Garrison, Victor Hedman, Andrej Sustr, and Braydon Coburn -- held up better, though the Sens carried the balance of play at evens aside from a stretch in the second period.
The Sens finally broke through again with time expiring in the overtime session as Patrick Wiercioch took a pass from Mark Stone, waited for a screen, then snapped the puck past Bishop for the winner, keeping Ottawa's playoff hopes alive and sending the Lightning to a second straight loss.
- The Caps defeated the Habs in a shootout (5-4) and Boston held off Detroit (3-2) in other Atlantic Division action, as the final match-ups for the first round of the playoffs remain unknown. The Bolts now sit a point back of the Habs, but Montreal holds a game in hand. The Red Wings and Bruins are tied in points but Detroit holds a game in hand in that race for who will be a Wild Card and who will be the third Atlantic team in.
- Ben Bishop allowed two goals on 34 shots faced (.941) which, on almost any night, should be good enough to earn a win. Andrew Hammond was just a bit better (.966).
- Slater Koekkoek, skating in his 2nd ever NHL game, gobbled up over 17 minutes of ice time and impressed doing it. He might not be an NHL regular quite yet but his time is coming soon. The growth in his game since the fall is evident.
- Jonathan Drouin finally scored again, again on the power play. He still has just one 5v5 goal on the season, but if Tampa Bay can get him snapping a few in as a secondary scorer that bodes well for the playoffs. It certainly seems like he's finding his way at 5v4 in the meantime.