On a night dedicated to celebrating captain Vincent Lecavalier‘s 1,000 game milestone, the Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a rough second period to hand the Ottawa Senators their first loss of this season, 6-4.
While some teams don’t have true top six forwards the Lightning do, with Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Cory Conacher and Lecavalier all aiding the comeback. Stamkos had a late second period goal which cut the Senators lead in half, while Malone notched both the tying and game-winning goals. Defensemen Victor Hedman also chipped in, sending a wicked wrister that beat Senators’ goaltender Ben Bishop top-shelf, cutting their lead to 4-3.
Coach Guy Boucher stated, in his post-game remarks, that we’re a team full of character guys who love challenges, but those challenges aren’t seen before they present themself. That seems pretty obvious from what I’ve seen thus far, but it’s nice to know comebacks are possible.
On a separate note, B.J. Crombeen fought the pesky Chris Neil and held his own throughout. It was nice to see this team show some toughness, as we missed that element down the stretch last season.
Kyle Turris proved to be the Senators best player, notching a goal and assist, which added to his hot start.
There was one play reviewed, with the officials ruling that Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback had stopped the puck before it completely crossed the goal line.
There were times when the Lightning looked sloppy: making mistakes and giving up odd-man rushes, or even breakaways. Lucky for them, Lindback was able to make a highlight-reel save on Jason Spezza‘s breakaway early. Their power play and penalty kill still need some work, though Matt Carle did score the game’s first goal on the power play. The second period wasn’t very good, to say the least, but they were quickly able to answer Ottawa’s goals which kept things close.
Tom Pyatt‘s empty-net goal late in the third period sealed the deal, and irritated the Senators, with both teams pushing and shoving moments later.
Other guys who played well in this game: Sami Salo, who had two points, and tied a team-record with a plus-5 rating. Lecavalier, playing in his 1,002 game but first at home since reaching the milestone, also had an assist while tying Hedman for the second highest plus-minus rating of plus-3.
Conacher continued to be a force as well, contributing two assists. This brings him to seven points, tied with St. Louis for second on the team, and only one behind the leader, Stamkos.
The Lightning are back at it Sunday night, squaring off against the Philadelphia Flyers here in Tampa. This win, though, gives them sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division.