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Senators collapse in 5-1 loss to the Lightning

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Kucherov scored a rare powerplay natural hat trick

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You’d be forgiven if you forgot which team had played the night before. The Senators jumped out to an early 11-4 advantage on shots. They would eventually edge the Lightning out 15-8 in shots. The Sens scored the only goal of the period, a beautiful powerplay snipe by Kyle Turris after some good quick puck movement by the unit. It was really what the Sens needed, knowing their legs would probably give out first when playing a team with two more days off than them. There was a scary moment near the end when Ryan Dzingel was slow getting up, but he would be OK and the Sens would get a powerplay to finish off the period.

The second period saw things fall apart a little bit. The Sens would have a moment of fear with Kyle Turris going head-first into the boards and being slow to get up, but just Dzingel in the first, Turris would return. Then Brayden Point would pick off an errant Zack Smith pass after Mike Condon flubbed the pass behind the net. Point would pick the top corner past a helpless Condon, tying the game up. Then a second period penalty for hooking to Tom Pyatt set up the Bolts to score a goal, a one-time shot by Nikita Kucherov. Suddenly a game the Sens had been dominating had them behind on the scoreboard. The on the next Sens penalty, tripping on Dion Phaneuf, Kucherov would again rip home a one-timer. He’s a lethal goal scorer, and it was a little sad to see the Sens’ PK leave him wide-open two powerplays in a row.

Ottawa seemed to be fading as the second went on, trying to just get to the intermission. But just when you thought they’d succeed, Kucherov completed the natural hat trick with (you guessed it) a one-timer from the right faceoff circle on the powerplay. It felt a bit like watching highlight of Alex Ovechkin on the powerplay - you wonder why nobody ever thinks to cover him. Though Ottawa held a 26-25 advantage in shots through two periods, the Bolts had a 4-1 advantage where it mattered.

After a furious second period, the third felt a little slow. Don’t get me wrong, there were chances (including another Kucherov one-timer) but it was nothing compared to the second. Maybe it was the lack of penalties, maybe it was the lack of scrums, but either way the Sens almost seemed resigned to their fate that they were going to lose this game. Finally, after Kucherov tried a couple times to snap home his fourth, Brayden Coburn got the puck at the point and put it in off a Senator stick and over Condon’s glove. At 5-1, the game seemed very out of hand. Then an ugly trip by Cedric Paquette on Tommy Wingels left the second-newest Senator on the ice. It was the third injury scare of the game, but for the third time the player would get up and play his next shift. It also led to a lot of penalties, which eventually ended up in the Sens earning a powerplay. They would then have an awful, mediocre powerplay, the kind you’d expect to see from the team up by three goals just killing the clock.

And the game would end with the Sens somehow collecting 40 shots even though it felt like they’d been out of it since five minutes into the second. Let’s hope the team picks themselves up by Thursday.

Honourable Mention: Mark Stone

No one gets a hero nod in a lop-sided loss, but Stone was the best Senator on the night. Hardly surprising since it was Game 61 on the schedule.

Sens Zero: Penalty Kill

How do you allow three goals to the same person from the same spot? By having a terrible night, that’s how.

Sens Killer: Nikita Kucherov

One of the best young players in the league, and it was on full display tonight. What a lethal shot.

Game Flow:

Shot Chart: