Tampa Bay Lightning shines in 5-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 01: Tampa Bay Lightning Center Brayden Point (21), Tampa Bay Lightning Right Wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and Tampa Bay Lightning Defenceman Mikhail Sergachev (98) celebrate a goal during first period National Hockey League action between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators on April 1, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 01: Tampa Bay Lightning Center Brayden Point (21), Tampa Bay Lightning Right Wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and Tampa Bay Lightning Defenceman Mikhail Sergachev (98) celebrate a goal during first period National Hockey League action between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators on April 1, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded quite nicely with a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in their final meeting of the 2018-19 season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning hit quite a bump in the road on Saturday night as they fell 6-3 to the Washington Capitals in the final Home Game of the 2018-19 season. Regrettably, this game represented a little more than a loss to the Bolts.

After taking a hit to the head in the first period, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman sustained an Upper-Body Injury and would not return to the game. It was announced by the team this morning that Hedman would more than likely not be returning to the lineup before the end of the regular season.

This was not the only announcement the Lightning made this morning. The Bolts also announced that goaltender Louis Domingue has been listed as day-to-day with a Lower-Body Injury. In turn, the Lightning recalled Eddie Pasquale from the Syracuse Crunch to provide some backup for Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Despite all the injuries, the Lightning had a job to do tonight. The Bolts made their way to the Canadian Tire Center to kick off their final road trip of the season with Game 1 of their final back-to-back series against their Atlantic Division Rivals, the Ottawa Senators.

The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to be playing very cautiously tonight. It’s entirely possible this could have something to do with the sheer amount of injuries the Bolts have been dealing with, especially defensively. Of course, this isn’t the worst strategy in the world given their current playoff status.

Surprisingly enough, despite their conservative play style early in the first period, this didn’t stop the tension from mounting between these two Atlantic Division teams. The pushing and shoving started within the first five minutes of the game. There were no penalties assessed on the first small scuffle.

Making his Lightning debut in tonight’s Atlantic Division showdown is defenseman Cameron Gaunce. Gaunce had some pretty sweet moves early in the first period. If his performance is an indicator of what’s to come, we expect great things in his future.

It became apparent very quickly the refs were going to be calling the game very tight tonight.  The Lightning was the first team to taste the wrath of the referees as forward Tyler Johnson was sent to the sin bin for Hooking against Senators forward Oscar Lindberg. The good news here is the Penalty Kill was able to hold strong and keep the Senators off the board.

Just past the halfway point in the period, Lightning would strike. Lightning forward Yanni Gourde would pick up his 21st goal of the season to give the Bolts the early lead over the Sens. The assists on the Gourde goal would go to Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point.

As the period pressed on, the Senators seemed to be applying a little more pressure to the Bolts. There was a little over a minute left in the first period when the Senators would even things up. It would be Senators forward Brady Tkachuk who would beat both Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy to pick up his 21st goal.

When the buzzer sounded to end the first period of play, the Lightning and Senators would be tied up at one goal apiece. If you take a look at the stat sheet, one could easily believe the Senators controlled the pace of the game in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Senators outshot the Lightning 5-10 in the first period. Yes, you read that correctly. The Senators had double the shots on goal the Lightning had in the first period. While the Lightning didn’t exactly need to turn the afterburners on in this game, they would definitely have to increase those numbers in the second if they wanted to retake control of the game and bring home yet another two points.

The Lightning got off to a bit of a slow start in the second period, registering their first official shot on goal of the period a little before the halfway point. The good news here is the Lightning really made that shot on goal count. At 7:48 in the second, Mikhail Sergachev would pick up his 6th goal of the season to retake the lead.

The assists on the Sergachev goal would go to Nikita Kucherov and Braydon Coburn.

The Bolts picked up the pace as the period pressed on. Six minutes after the Sergachev goal, the Lightning would strike once again. Lightning forward Brayden Point would pick up his 41st goal of the season to increase the Lightning’s lead to two.

The assists on Point’s goal would go to Yanni Gourde and Nikita Kucherov. This is the third point of the night for Nikita Kucherov and the second point of the night for Yanni Gourde. Kucherov has been unstoppable this season. As a fan, we can’t wait to see what Kucherov has in store for the Bolts Nation in the postseason.

The Lightning finished off the second period of play in a much different position than they ended the first period. This time around, the Lightning outshot the Senators 10-4 for a two-period total of 15 all. While this hasn’t been the explosive Lightning we’ve become accustomed to, this was definitely an improvement from the first period of play.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bolts allowed themselves to fall victim to the call of the sin bin early in the third period. Cameron Gaunce was making his presence known in his Lightning debut as he threw hands with Zack Smith. Regrettably, the Lightning would be the one on the Penalty Kill as Gaunce received the extra penalty for Slashing. The extra penalty would be served by J.T. Miller.

The Senators took full advantage of their opportunity and closed the gap a little with a goal from rookie forward Max Veronneau. This was Veronneau’s second goal of the season with assists going to forward Rudolfs Balcers and defenseman Christian Wolanin.

The celebration on the Ottawa bench didn’t last very long. Less than a minute later, Yanni Gourde would pick up his second goal of the night to extend the Lightning’s lead to two once again. This was Gourde’s third point of the night, two from his own goals and one from an assist on the Point goal in the second period.

The Bolts weren’t done bringing the pain to the Senators just yet. With less than four minutes left in the game, Steven Stamkos would notch his 42nd goal of the season to extend the Lightning’s lead to three. The assists on the Stammer goal would go to Mathieu Joseph and Ondrej Palat.

When the buzzer would sound to end the final period of play, the Tampa Bay Lightning would defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Tonight’s victory over the Senators would mark the 60th win of the season for the Bolts.

This brings the Lightning within three wins of breaking the record set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for single-season wins. The Bolts have three games left in the regular season which means it’s entirely possible the Lightning could meet or exceed this record.

Things may not have gotten off to the start the Tampa Bay Lightning would’ve wanted, but once they found their groove, they became virtually unstoppable. The Bolts had eight players with points in tonight’s contest and five of those players had a multi-point night.

23. 2. 91. Final. 5

Leading the way for the Bolts tonight would be Yanni Gourde and Nikita Kucherov. Both Gourde and Kucherov finished off the night with three points. Gourde with two goals and three assists and Kucherov with three assists.

Next in line is Brayden Point, Mikhail Sergachev, and Braydon Coburn. These three ended the night with two points apiece. Point and Sergachev finished with a goal and an assist and Coburn ended the night with two assists.

Tonight, truly was a tale of David and Goliath. The first-place team in the league faced off with the last-place team in the league. The Senators are 28-45-6 after tonight’s contest with the Lightning. If you crunch the numbers, this is less than half the wins the Bolts have this season.

The Lightning may have captured their spot in the postseason already, but the journey is far from over. The Bolts get back to business tomorrow night as they head to the Bell Centre where they will do battle with the Montreal Canadiens in the final game of their back-to-back series.

The Montreal Canadiens are battling for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. A Canadiens victory could elevate them ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes and give them the boost they need to make their way into the postseason. A Lightning victory would widen the gap making it that much more difficult for the Canadiens to keep their season moving forward.

Trending. Victor Hedman Not Likely To Return In The Regular Season. light

The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. There is definitely no love lost between these two Atlantic Division rivals. Everyone in the Bolts Nation should be prepared for an exciting night of hockey.