Game 4: Ottawa Senators versus Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning overcome second period sluggishness... again... and prevail over the Ottawa Senators 6-4.

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Ottawa Senators 6-4 in front of a sellout crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa bay Times Forum.

I'm guessing you guys are a "good news first" crowd, am I right? The Lightning won tonight, so sure, let's lead off with the good news: Once again, the Bolts showed their mettle in the third period to overcome a deficit and salt away a victory. The bad news? The Bolts have been lousy in the second period in each of the four games they've played this season, making third period heroics necessary.

"We just get away from everything that works. if it was me changing my game plan after the first, I could say I know where it comes from but it's not. We take penalties and we turn the puck over at their blue line. We don't play 200 feet of hockey." - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher

The Senators spent a good chunk of the first period in the penalty box, racking up five penalties. The Lightning cashed in on the first one, with Matt Carle scoring a power play goal at 1:09. He was assisted by Cory Conacher and Marc-Andre Bergeron. The Bolts would carry the 1-0 lead into the intermission, having outshot Ottawa 15-7 in the opener.

The Senators tied it at 4:11 after the two teams traded breakaway opportunities. Erik Condra got the goal with help from Chris Neil and Sergei Gonchar.

What followed was an intense period of red light activity that saw the Lightning lose the lead as the two teams rang up five goals in the last five and a half minutes, including three within 30 seconds. Jason Spezza scored at 14:30 on a 4-on-3 with assists from Daniel Alfredsson and Gonchar.

15 seconds later, they stretched their lead to two when Erik Karlsson scored on a 4-on-4 at 14:45, assisted by Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris.

Just when it looked like Ottawa might run away with it, Sami Salo and Martin St. Louis fed Steven Stamkos who cut the lead to one at the 15:00 mark.

At 17:30, Ottawa stretched the lead back to two when Turris scored on assists from Alfredsson and Kaspars Daugavins.

A little over a half minute later, the Bolts trimmed the lead in half again when Victor Hedman scored with help from Stamkos and St. Louis at 18:10.

The Senators carried a 4-3 advantage into the second intermission. The Lightning also surrendered their edge in shots taken as the Senators posted 16 to the Lightning's five.

In the third period, the Bolts came out re-committed to the task at hand. At 3:39 Ryan Malone scored on assists from Salo and Conacher to tie the game for the final time.

He would score again at 12:58, the eventual game winner, this time with help from pre-game honoree Vincent Lecavalier and Hedman.

Tom Pyatt, on an assist from Stamkos, finished things off with an empty netter at 19:18.

The Lightning are in action again on Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning began a five-game homestand tonight, their longest stretch of any kind this season. They will have three three-game homestands and three four-game road trips later this season.
  • The Lightning hadn't beaten the Senators since March 29, 2011.
  • The Lightning have been outshot in all four games this season.
  • 11 of the Bolts' 19 goals have come in the third period.
  • The Bolts 19 goals scored in four games leads the NHL at this early juncture in the season.
  • Defenseman Sami Salo was a +5 for the game, tying a team record held by Cory Cross, Pavel Kubina, Brad Lukowich, Dan Boyle, Lecavalier and St. Louis..
  • Carle's goal, his first since signing with the team this past summer was his second as a member of the Lightning. He scored one goal in his previous stint with the team in 2008-09, also against the Senators.
  • The Lightning have been outscored 14-5 in the second period this season.
  • Pre-game ceremonies celebrated team captain Vincent Lecavalier's 1000th NHL game, all with the Lightning), which occurred on January 21st in New York, a 4-3 loss to the Islanders.
  • Tonight's game featured four current NHL players who have skated in over 1000 games (Lecavalier and Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips).
  • The Lightning honored Ashley Rhodes as the 16th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game.. Rhodes, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco, and Eckerd Youth Alternatives.

    Rhodes bounced around numerous different foster homes since the age of three and spent 10 years in 14 different homes before she was finally adopted. Instead of being down on life, she was determined to be strong academically, excelling in the classroom and graduated from Eckerd College with honors. Rhodes was inspired by her own experiences and wanted to change the future for others. She served two years as a Guardian ad Litem before becoming a foster parent herself.

    Rhodes now circulates around the United States, speaking to groups about the foster child system in this country. She is a calming influence in many children's lives that are currently going through hard times. In 2008, Simon and Schuster published Rhodes' memoir, "Three Little Words," which became a New York Times Best Seller and has recently been optioned for a motion picture.