The Lightning beat the Senators 5-3 but let’s talk about Colin White’s header
Another third period comeback for the Bolts.
The Lightning needed another third period comeback to take two points on the road against the Senators. After a poor second period that saw them head to intermission down 3-2, they played much better in the third ultimately winning 5-3. The only big downside tonight was that Ryan McDonagh left the game due to an unspecified injury and did not return. The team didn’t update his status after the game but said he’s unlikely to play on Sunday.
The Sens opened the scoring in the second period on a shorthanded goal by Chris Tierney. The Lightning responded with two in a row from Carter Verhaeghe and Kevin Shattenkirk. But they couldn’t hold the lead as Ottawa dominated play and got goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageua and Mark Borowiecki to go ahead.
The third period was a different story though as the Bolts tied the game on a pretty goal by Brayden Point following a nice setup by Mikhail Sergachev and Nikita Kucherov. Tyler Johnson scored the game winner with 90 seconds left on a nice feed from Victor Hedman after a regroup from an initial rush started by Ondrej Palat. Alex Killorn added an empty netter to ice the game.
This gets its own section. In the closing minute with the Lightning trying to hold a lead, Colin White got loose in the slot and ripped a shot off the crossbar. It deflected high into the rafters seeming to take minutes to come down. In that time, White stood in front of the net contemplating what he should do when the puck landed. His choice? Head it into the net. Colin, you can’t do that. That’s a different sport. Sorry.
Soooo... has head butting always been illegal in the NHL???#Sens tie it up, but refs say no goal due to .... headbutt... pic.twitter.com/XloFHIhayy— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) January 5, 2020
Like, this isn’t even subtle. Colin, my man, what are you doing? You had so much time to come up with a plan! Nice form though.
Considering how bad they were getting trounced after two periods, the final numbers are respectable for the Lightning. They’re still on the wrong side of the expected goal battle but they regained a lot of ground in the final twenty minutes.
This recent winning streak feels a lot like last season. That’s probably because they won a lot of games last year and they’re winning games now. But also because even when they’re getting outplayed, they’re finding ways to stick around in games so that they at least have a chance to come back late. That was the case again tonight. That second period could have easily sunk them. But it didn’t. So when they played well enough to get the game back to break even in terms of shot metrics in the third, they were able to win the coin flip and walk away with the two points.
Curtis McElhinney once again did a solid job in net. That makes three consecutive strong showings for him. Much like Andrei Vasilevskiy last game, he kept the Lightning within striking distance making the late comeback possible.
Brayden Point game tying goal
Tyler Johnson game winning goal