Sens rally to 6-4 win in Tampa
TAMPA — Brady Tkachuk introduced himself to Tampa Bay Lightning all-star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy Saturday.
Maybe not with words. Certainly with actions.
“That’s what I pride myself on, is being around the net, that’s where a lot of goals are from,” the 19-year-old Ottawa Senators rookie said after playing a major role in the Senators impressive comeback 6-4 win over the Lightning. “I just want to be around there, cause havoc down there, too, and tried to get into (Vasilevskiy’s) kitchen a little bit.” It worked. The Senators rallied with a four-goal third period against a Lightning squad that had previously been 8-1-1 when leading after two periods.
Tkachuk cued the rally, scoring 50 seconds into the third. Tkachuk then assisted on fellow rookie Colin White’s power play goal to tie the game 4-4.
Ryan Dzingel scored the go-ahead goal and Mark Stone capped the comeback with a power play goal with 12 seconds remaining.
It was a similar story to what happened when the clubs met at the Canadian Tire Centre last Sunday. Only in reverse, when the Lightning walked away with an overtime victory.
“We were due for a comeback eventually,” said Tkachuk. “So why not tonight
against a Stanley Cup contender?”
Tkachuk, who returned to the lineup from his leg injury on Thursday, has scored four goals and four assists in only six games.
Saturday’s victory marked only the second road win of the season for the Senators, who are immediately back in action Sunday against the Florida Panthers.
The loaded Lightning were in ideal position to bury the Senators. Thanks to a threegoal second period, the Lightning turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 edge.
For all the talk about the offence of the Senators’ defence, it was the Lightning’s defence that helped flipped the momentum.
Victor Hedman, returning to the lineup after missing
seven games due to an undisclosed upper-body injury, tied the game 2-2 on a power play, ripping a shot between Craig Anderson’s legs.
That was followed by Braydon Coburn’s knuckleball from the blueline, which floated over and through several bodies before finding the top of the net.
On the ropes, the Senators
were backing up as rookie Mathieu Joseph ripped a shot from the slot over Anderson to make it 4-2. It was his second of the night.
Before Joseph played the Senators last Sunday in Ottawa, he had yet to score in the big leagues. After tallying his first at the Canadian Tire Centre in a come-frombehind 4-3 OT win, he now has four goals, clearly rolling
The odds were certainly not in the Senators’ favour before Saturday’s game.
Since winning their first road game of the year against Toronto, the Senators had lost their next five. The last time they were away from home, they were humiliated 9-2 by Buffalo.
On top of that, a couple of other notable statistics were
staring them in the face: the Lightning led the NHL in goals scored, while the Senators led the league in goals allowed.
The Senators jumped out early.
Duchene began the scoring on the first shot, tucking the puck past Vasilevskiy on a wraparound effort 4:58 into the game.
Only 2:23 later, Bobby Ryan cashed in, taking advantage of big rebound off a Cody Ceci shot.
Three shots. Two goals. 2-0 Ottawa.
Ever so gradually, though, the Lightning worked their way back into the game. Joseph’s first goal of the game, a bank shot off Thomas
Chabot’s skate, slipped behind Anderson to make it 2-1.
The Lightning gained momentum that lasted through the second period, but the Senators had an answer for that.
“We need everyone in here going to win games,” said Duchene. “That includes our young guys and our young guys were outstanding.”
PUTTiNg CHABOT ON iCE
The career-high 28 minutes 49 seconds of ice time that Chabot played in Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights led to questions about his high-water marks as a junior. According to Chabot, while playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs against the Shawinigan Cataractes in a 2016-17 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League contest, he hit the 45-minute mark. Yes, that’s 45 of the 65 minutes. “Yeah, that was a good one. We won in a shootout,” Chabot recalled.
Then there was that 45-minute effort in the 2017 world junior championship final, when Chabot and his Canadian teammates lost 5-4 to the United States, also in a shootout after a full overtime period was played. White played a major role for the winning side that night. “I remember us beating him,” White said. “He slew-footed me. I got him back. It was a fun game. Now, we’re besties, we’re roommates, but I think I got the better hand of him that day.”
NOT ALL ABOUT NUMBERS
While White isn’t in Chabot’s ballpark in terms of playing time with the Senators, it’s his defence as much as his offence that allow Senators head coach Guy
Boucher to trust him more. White’s backchecking has saved at least a couple of goals in the past week. “For me, it’s just about a 200-foot game,” said White, whose all-round game while he was at Boston College drew comparisons to the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron. “If I make a mistake in either the (defensive) zone or the (offensive) zone, I try to move on, keep watching video and see what I can gain from that.” White had a goal and an assist and played 18:49 against the Lightning. A BREAK FOR ANDERSON
Heading into Saturday’s game, Boucher said the plan was still to start backup netminder Mike McKenna against the Florida Panthers on Sunday. McKenna has played in two games, yielding six goals on 37 shots. “We’re planning for McKenna (Sunday) and after that there’s no plan,” Boucher said Saturday. “It really is about how (Anderson) feels. We’re giving him all the rest we can. He’s a gamer. He’s not going to cry about not practising and just playing games, so, in that respect, I don’t think we have an issue.”… While the Senators sent goalie Mike
Condon down to the American Hockey League so he could play and rebuild his confidence, his debut with the Belleville Senators didn’t go well on Friday. He allowed six goals on 23 shots, but won 7-6.
BATHERSON, WOLANiN SHiNE
The good news for the Senators out of Belleville’s victory on Friday was the offensive bursts from winger Drake Batherson and defenceman Christian
Wolanin. Batherson scored one goal and five assists, making him the first AHL player in almost three seasons with a six-point game. Wolanin had one goal and four assists. PRiDE OF TAMPA With former Lightning great
Martin St. Louis being officially inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, current Tampa Bay players couldn’t say enough about his career. “It was just his dedication to the game and he was a such a good teacher for me,” said Hedman. “He wanted to be on a different level. He wanted to be the best there is and that rubbed off on me.” SURViViNg LAND OF giANTS
Boucher coached St. Louis during his tenure with the Lightning from 2010 to 2013. He rained praise on the 5-7 sparkplug for steamrolling his way to domination in the clutch-and-grab late 1990s. “People forget now how amazing it was because now it’s an age where it would suit him even more, (with) the smaller player, the faster player, the skilled player able to evolve because the rules have changed,” Boucher said. “What he did, just making the NHL with his size and doing what he has done, it’s absolutely mind boggling, it really is.”
ANDREi THE giANT
It’s way, way, way too early to think about end of season National Hockey League awards, but Vasilevskiy has been the class of the crease. Just like St. Louis, the road to glory for Vasilevskiy started with a ridiculous commitment. “The way he works off the ice and at practice is second to none,” Lightning winger Ryan
Callahan said. “I remember (goalie coach) Frantz Jean telling him, ‘You’ve got to go home once in a while.’ He was the first guy at the rink and the trainers were getting upset because they had to wash the (equipment) and he was still out there.” Over time, Callahan says, Vasilevskiy has learned to channel his emotions. “I’ve seen him handle that pressure a lot better as the years have gone on. He’s so much more composed than when he broke into the league, when dealing with losses or dealing with a bad goal.” For all that, the Senators found some late holes to turn what looked like a sure defeat to a sudden victory.
STATE OF THE UNiON
The official Florida motto is “In God We Trust,” and it’s often referred to as “The Sunshine State.” Anyone else think “The Vote Recount State” works?
Senators’ Cody Ceci gets a shot off as Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman closes in last night at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Danick Martel of the Lightning unleashes a shot on Senators goalie Craig Anderson last night at Amalie Arena in Tampa.