Fresh off of their first road win of the season Tuesday in Toronto, the Lightning started Thursday’s game at Ottawa right where they finished off just two nights earlier.
Alex Tanguay harnessed the momentum still lingering from Ryan Malone’s game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs, as he gave the Lightning an early 1-0 lead on the road for just the second time this season. Just over three minutes into the game on the powerplay, Steve Downie crashed the net with a shot on goal. Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire stopped the initial shot, but failed to halt play as the puck came loose. After Lightning center Jeff Halpern banged away at the puck in a second-effort chance, Tanguay found the loose puck that had slipped under Leclaire’s left pad, as well as the back of the net.
The lead wouldn’t last long however, as Ottawa returned the favor just two minutes later at the five-minute mark to knot the game at one. Playing the puck down low against the boards, Jason Spezza, who appeared in his first game back from injury, attempted a wrap-around backhand shot from the top of the goal mouth. After Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki got a piece of the shot, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson rushed the crease and finished off the play by netting his sixth goal of the season.
The second period provided a mirror image of the first frame, as once again both teams traded a pair of goals just over halfway through the stanza. After the session started much like the first one ended, in a scoreless deadlock, Mike Fisher gave Ottawa its first lead of the game on the powerplay, as he buried a shot in a wide-open net off of a tape-to-tape feed from Alex Kovalev.
Just a minute and forty seconds later however, the Bolts got a dose of déjà vu, but this time in their favor. Steven Stamkos was once again true to form, as he tied the game at two with a man-advantage for his 12th goal of the season. The equalizer came as a result of Martin St. Louis’ playmaking ability, penetrating through the slot after receiving a pass from Vincent Lecavalier. St. Louis skated around traffic before zipping a pass to Stamkos who was waiting on the left circle for a one-time chance. Stamkos rocketed a slapshot right below the crossbar to even things up with just over five minutes remaining before intermission.
Late in the third period, as the Senators drew a delayed penalty, Filip Kuba appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal for Ottawa, but the score was waved off and determined a no-goal after Stephane Veilleux got his stick on the puck which drew the whistle to halt play. On the ensuing Ottawa powerplay, Antero Niittymaki made a series of brilliant saves to keep the contest even and prevent the Senators from escaping with a late lead. The Lightning survived yet another scare with the final buzzer looming in regulation when Chris Kelly’s apparent game-winner was negated due to his stick being above the crossbar, as he tipped a saucer pass out of mid-air and into the goal.
In overtime, with defenseman Mattias Ohlund in the penalty box for a hooking call, Ottawa’s Jason Spezza rifled a slapshot from the right circle that got a piece of Lightning defenseman David Hale’s stick as he attempted to block the shot. Hale slowed the puck mid-flight, but not enough as it redirected above the left shoulder of Antero Niittymaki with 42 seconds left for a 3-2 overtime win.
On a side note, Lightning center Ryan Craig returned for his first action this season after being recalled from Norfolk of the AHL, and Victor Hedman left the game in the second period after taking a vicious hit from the Senators’ Chris Neil.
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