The Senators put up a questionable effort last night against the Florida Panthers and woke up this morning to find out they'd be without Bobby Ryan as he suffered a fractured finger in the loss. Nobody could blame you if you have low hopes for the Senators on the second night of a back-to-back against the very talented Tampa Bay Lightning.
The team came out much stronger than they finished against Florida, creating several good chances and keeping the Lightning to the perimeter in the defensive zone and giving up few shots -- only 5 shots against in the period! To cap it all off, David Legwand scored a powerplay goal in his 1000th NHL game, finally rewarding Paul MacLean for leaving him on the top powerplay unit all season.
Unfortunately, the first period proved to be the only good one for the Senators, who were outshot 12-8 and 15-10 in the next two periods. Tampa got on the board five minutes into the third with a Ryan Callahan goal after the Senators let him and Steven Stamkos in on a 2-on-1. The Senators continually got stuck in their own end, struggling to break out cleanly and get through the neutral zone.
The third period was no better, with the Senators giving up an early goal to Alex Killorn, and then a later goal to Brendan Morrow of all people. Later in the period, Tampa's Nikita Kucherov sealed the deal by making it 4-1, which it would remain.
After putting up such a great effort in St. Louis to beat the Blues, it's disheartening to see the Senators struggle so much on their Florida road trip. They started the night fine, but it just got worse as it went on.
Sens Killer: Tampa's top line
Tampa Bay's top line of Ryan Callahan, Alex Killorn, and Steven Stamkos dominated the Senators, with Killorn and Callahan finishing with two points each and Stamkos with one.
Bad luck: Milan Michalek, Mika Zibanejad, and Colin Greening
Michalek and Zibanejad were both healthy scratches earlier in the week, and their line (with frequent healthy scratch Colin Greening) responded tonight with a strong possession game and a lot of chances. The result? They led all Senators forwards in Corsi For% but had no points, andMichalek and Zibanejad finished -3 on the night while Greening was a -2.
Split 'em up: MacArthur/Turris/Chiasson
Alex Chiasson did a great job screening Ben Bishop for David Legwand's powerplay goal, but he is a terrible fit on the Turris/MacArthur line. That line got dominated throughout the game, only sustaining momentum in the offensive zone briefly at the end of the third period when -- surprise surprise -- Chiasson was replaced with Mark Stone on the top line.
Don't blame the Lehner
Four goals against never looks good for a goalie's stat line, but Robin Lehner wasn't given much of a chance tonight. He made countless big saves, and while he could've handled the puck better prior to the Morrow goal, the other three were a Stamkos/Callahan 2-on-1 and two perfect tip-ins -- he had no chance.
Game flow chart: