Teddy Purcell showed exactly why the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired him at last month’s trade deadline.
Purcell, acquired on Mar. 3 from Los Angeles in exchange for Jeff Halpern, scored the game-winning goal in the shootout after adding a goal in regulation to help the Lightning defeat the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night 4-3.
The Lightning winger, who before arriving in Tampa Bay had just six points in 41 games with the Kings, deked to the forehand side of Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliott before pulling the puck across to his backhand and roofing one to record his ninth point in 17 games since coming over from Los Angeles.
“He’s got the hands,” Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet said of Purcell. “We’re just trying to win some battles, and if he can do that, he can be a pretty good player for us.”
Tampa Bay won for the second time in its last four games, while handing Ottawa just its second loss in its last nine.
The Lightning jumped out to an early lead on goals by Martin St. Louis, Purcell, and Steven Stamkos, but squandered a three-goal advantage when Mike Fisher tied it at 15:44 in the third, scoring the last of Ottawa’s three power play goals.
Nick Foligno and Jason Spezza also scored for the Senators, 4-1-1 in their last six games on the road.
“They dictated the pace, but once the physical play started to pick up, I really thought we played much better,” Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston said. “You give up three straight goals and there’s no momentum, but once the emotions start going, we competed a lot harder.”
Foligno closed the gap to 3-1 after converting on the power play in front of the net, and Spezza, also with the man advantage, cut the deficit to one with a tip-in from the right side of the crease.
Fisher took a pass across the crease from Daniel Alfredsson to tie it at three just four minutes into the third, beating Mike Smith with a wrist shot.
Smith stopped 35 shots for Tampa Bay, including 27 in the final two periods and one from point-blank range on a shot by Peter Regin with one minute left in regulation.
“It was nice to see us battle back in a game that doesn’t mean anything for us,” Alfredsson said. “We showed some character and we had enough chances to win it.”
Ottawa held a 38-29 shot advantage over Tampa Bay, who went up 1-0 when St. Louis roofed a backhand above the left shoulder of Elliott at 8:01 in the opening period.
“It was kind of a playoff mentality I guess you could say,” Smith said. “We’re out of the playoffs and we don’t have much to play for, but there’s a lot of pride in this room and it showed tonight.”
Stamkos scored his league-leading 22nd power play goal to open the second period, putting in a wrist shot from the left circle to extend the lead to three. The goal was the second-year forward’s 48th of the season, moving him into a second-place tie with Alex Ovechkin, as both players trail Sidney Crosby by one.
Elliott stopped Tampa Bay’s first two shooters in the tiebreaker before Purcell made it 1-0. Smith outlasted Elliott when he bested both Spezza and Alfredsson before Fisher failed to send the shootout into the fourth round, sending the puck high and wide of the net.
“We’re just playing with pride,” Stamkos said. “I liked the way the guys came out with passion and with character. It was definitely nice to see.”
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