Frustrating. That’s the word that probably best describes this game, especially the third period, where the Ottawa Senators once again decided to sit back and let their opponent, this time the lethal Tampa Bay Lightning, take full control.
Sure, the Sens were still riding the emotional coattails of a dreadful 9-2 loss the previous day, although the Lightning were just as tired, having also played the prior evening against Montreal. In the end, Ottawa managed to come away with a single point, losing 4-3 in overtime, during both franchises’ 2000th regular season game.
And since this format seemed to be well received last time, I’ll be going through each goal, breaking down what happened and determining who should be given credit or fault.
Goal #1: Ottawa 1, Tampa 0
Bobby Ryan, from Mark Stone and Thomas Chabot
Who was responsible: The Lightning found themselves in penalty trouble early, with Mikhail Sergachev in the box for interference. Mark Stone’s pass to Chabot drew Anthony Cirelli (#71) towards the point, which opened up space in the middle. Chabot noticed the space immediately, giving the puck back to Stone who used the lane through Cirelli and Alex Killorn (#17) to find Bobby Ryan on the other side. Louis Domingue couldn’t get over in time, putting the Sens up 1-0.
For Bobby Ryan, it’s good to see him back in his shooting position on the power play. His many, many hand injuries really wore done his shot, although he appears to be more comfortable now. Overall, it was a great passing sequence by Ottawa on the power play to put them on the board first.
Goal #2: Ottawa 2, Tampa Bay 0
Max Lajoie, from Ryan Dzingel and Mikkel Boedker
Who was responsible: Again on the power play, the Sens continued their great puck movement to take a 2-0 lead. This was pretty similar to the last one, although instead of being open at the top of the circle like Bobby Ryan, Max Lajoie positioned himself lower, all the way to the front of the net while Dzingel had the puck on the other side.
The Lightning defence was helpless at that point. Ryan McDonagh (#27) had pinched too hard on Mikkel Boedker before Boedker was able to get the pass off. Chris Tierney had Anton Stralman (#6) tied up in front, so he couldn’t turn around fast enough. And there sat Max Lajoie on the doorstep, with Domingue again not having enough time and momentum to make the save.
This was Max Lajoie’s fifth goal of the season. Five goals! He only had one in the AHL last season, and no more than eight in a single WHL season. What an incredible start to his NHL career for a player who has worked extremely hard to earn it. Ottawa entered the first intermission with a rare two goal lead.
Goal #3: Ottawa 2, Tampa Bay 1
Cedric Paquette, from Ryan McDonagh and Adam Erne
Who was responsible: As the Lightning entering the zone with a 4-on-2 odd man rush, things quickly turned into a defensive zone scramble. Chabot gave plenty of room to Adam Erne (#72) as he signalled to Dylan DeMelo to move over and watch Cedric Paquette (#13). Chabot was caught watching the Lightning’s passing sequence, however, which slowed him down and allowed two Lightning players to get below him. Some jamming at the puck later and Paquette managed to shove it past Anderson, just as Ottawa’s other backcheckers had arrived.
It was a nice sequence by the Lightning to throw off the Sens defenders, although the trio of forwards (Ryan, McCormick and Paul) could’ve tried a bit harder on the backcheck. Ottawa’s lead was cut in half, as Paquette’s goal, scored only 38 seconds into the second period, would stand as the frame’s only goal.
Goal #4: Ottawa 2, Tampa Bay 2
Mathieu Joseph, from Anthony Cirelli and Anton Stralman
Who was responsible: This one was a mess. Matt Duchene and Max McCormick tried to exit the zone through the middle, although Stralman was able to hold it back in. Everyone else on the Sens anticipated the exit (Christian Jaros was the biggest culprit here), which meant two Lightning forwards were left alone behind the Sens’ defencemen. Chabot could’ve broken up the play if he had a stick, although it was knocked out his hands in the midst of the chaos. Cirelli fed the puck to Mathieu Joseph who scored his first NHL goal. Craig Anderson had no chance on this one.
Goal #5: Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 2
Cody Ceci, from Chris Tierney and Mark Stone
Who was responsible: This one was weeeeeiiiiird. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s take it through step-by-step.
A big hit at the other end of the ice sent the players into a bit of a frenzy, with players getting close and intense like you’d normally see after a big hit. You’d think there would be a whistle at this point, which is what everyone — fans, players and broadcasters alike — thought had happened. But the call was a delayed penalty, and the Lightning had yet to touch the puck!
Mark Stone had the puck in the offensive zone, and had the opportunity to go one-on-one if he hadn’t stopped out of confusion. Anderson left for the Sens bench, and suddenly the Tampa players realized their error. Dan Girardi (#5) bolted towards Stone, clobbering him into the boards.
Ottawa still had the puck, though, with Chris Tierney and Cody Ceci rushing back to create an impromptu 2-on-1. Slater Koekkoek (#29) dove out of desperation, but couldn’t do anything. Ceci pulled a beautiful mini toe-drag past a stunned Domingue, giving Ottawa back the lead.
This was definitely one of the most unique and exciting moments I’ve ever seen leading to a goal, followed by an excellent finish by Ceci. Everyone was confused, nobody knew what was going on, and all of a sudden Ottawa was right back on top.
At this point in the match the Lightning had been dominating, piling on shots at an alarming rate as Ottawa was completely inept defensively. With five minutes left in the game, it seemed almost certain that Tampa had at least one more left in the tank. Could the Sens really steal the victory? Well...
Goal #6: Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 3
Brayden Point, from Tyler Johnson and Ryan McDonagh
Who was responsible: First and foremost, Mikkel Boedker needs to take a big portion of the blame for taking a penalty at the absolute worst time: up by one with two minutes left.
Nikita Kucherov’s point shot hit his own player, making the puck loose. Mark Borowiecki saw the opportunity to make a rush and get the puck out, although a brilliant steal from Ryan McDonagh kept the puck alive in the Lightning’s offensive zone. That left the Sens with, well, this sad formation.
The penalty killers were rendered useless, as Tampa did their thing and tied it back up by the stick of Brayden Point. As ugly as the above looks, none of it would be this way if it wasn’t for McDonagh’s excellent defensive play. Overtime would be required.
Goal #7: Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 4
Yanni Gourde, from Brayden Point and Ryan McDonagh
Possession and speed are everything in 3-on-3 overtime, and the Lightning used both to strike quickly, only fourteen seconds after the faceoff. Brayden Point sped around Chabot towards Anderson, who made the questionable decision to poke-check the puck away. Now flat on his back and spun around by the players who were part of the initial rush, Anderson stood no chance against Yanni Gourde, who had no shortage of time and space to finish the game. A goalie interference review couldn’t overturn the call, and in a quick flash, the game was over.
- What did Craig Anderson do to deserve this cruel and torturous fate? He was outstanding after being less-than-outstanding yesterday, being the main reason why Ottawa even got a point out of this.
- Max Lajoie had his ups and downs. I’ve never seen Guy Boucher trust a young player this much, giving him ample time on both the power play and penalty kill. His 22:07 led the team, and his goal was nice, although he also had a few glaring errors defensively.
- Mark Stone had two assists, because of course he did. He’s Mark Stone.
- Special shoutout to Guy Boucher, who said that team played well in the third period, even though the third period shots were 21-4 for the Lightning.
The Sens play at home again on Tuesday, hosting the New Jersey Devils.