Sens Top Lightning with Tkachuk Shootout Goal

by | Apr 12, 2024

Sens Top Lightning with Tkachuk Shootout Goal

by | Apr 12, 2024

TAMPA – While the Tampa Bay Lightning did pick up a point in the 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators via the shootout, the Bolts wondered how this game might have played out if they had been able to connect on the 5-on-3 early in the first period.

Senators defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker was hit with two minutes for interference at 5:42 in the first and then defenseman Thomas Chabot was nailed with a high-sticking infraction at 6:40. The Lightning power play had 1:02 to try to capitalize on the two-man advantage but no goals from the special teams made this a tougher challenge.

Tampa Bay leads the NHL with 70 power-play goals and they are also atop the league in power-play percentage at a 29 percent clip..

“A power play is not a given, though,” said Bolts coach Jon Cooper. “We have pretty much had the top power play in the league for a long time and they have scored huge goals for us. They didn’t get it tonight and they had some good looks.”

Neither team could connect on the odd-man advantage as Tampa Bay came up 0-for-7 while the Islanders were stymied by a 0-of-8 performance on the power play.

“They (Ottawa) had something to say about it too, so I think more importantly, we had to kill off much more of a 5-on-3 than they had too,” said Cooper. “We got through that too. I think both coaches would say ‘The power play could have pushed us over.’”

Center Brayden Point gave the Senators’ penalty kill the credit as he noted how a power play goal on the 5-on-3 would have given Tampa Bay an advantage with a quick start. An early goal would have allow the Lightning to push out the win in regulation, assuming the game played out as it did.

“They were aggressive,” he said. “They were taking away time and space.”

On the flip side, Tampa Bay’s penalty killers were challenged at the beginning of the third period after Ottawa started with a 5-on-3 to begin the final 20 minutes. Lightning defender Victor Hedman was hit with two minutes for hooking and a 10-minute game misconduct as Anthony Cirelli was also called for roughing to end the second period.

Tampa Bay’s penalty kill is fifth in the NHL as the Lightning have fended off  83.2 percent of their penalties on the year.

“Penalties hurt us,” explained Point. “We got in penalty trouble there late in the second and a little bit in the third. They’re a fast team. A skilled team and when you give them room on the rush, they make plays. I think in the third they had more of that.”

It was the Bolts’ first loss in a shootout this season as they fell to 3-1 and 8-8 overall in extra sessions.

How It Happened: Ottawa winger Brady Tkachuk scored the first goal of the game at 8:45 in the first and then he pushed the Senators to the win with his goal in the shootout.

Point scored at 12:56 in the second as he followed Conor Sheary’s fourth goal of the season to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead after two periods.

“We had our chances,” acknowledged Sheary. “I think our PK had to step up for us in the second especially and to start the third. We thought we could build off that and we thought we could find one. When it goes to the shootout, anything can happen. Overall, a good game but we would have loved to have gotten the other one (point).

Senators forward Drake Batherson scored early in the third when he took the puck to the net and missed on the right side of the crease. He then tapped in his own miss as he tied the game at 2-2.

Kucherov on the March: Nikita Kucherov delivered an assist on each of Tampa Bay’s goals as he now sits at 98 assists and 141 points on the season.

At 9:45 in the first, he tied the game at 1-1 as he was above the right circle and found Sheary in the deep middle for the first Lightning goal. The pass was on the money to Sheary who was deep in front of the Senators goalie Anton Forsberg.

His second assist helped Tampa Bay take its first lead at 12:56 in the first when he found the puck at the red line and passed it back into the middle to Point, who connected for his 44th goal of the season and a 2-1 Lightning lead.

“His vision on the ice, his poise with the puck, and his ability to make plays seemingly under pressure all the time is pretty impressive,” said Sheary.

Point underlined Sheary’s response to Kucherov’s intense and consistent play throughout the season. Now, Kucherov only needs two more assists to become the fourth player in NHL history to break 100 helpers in a season.

“He’s unbelievable,” analyzed Point. “He gives us a chance to win every night and we have three games left and hopefully, we can get it. It’s a lot of assists, Man. He’s a heckuva player. He works so hard that it’s awesome to see him get them.”

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