TAMPA -- There are lots of ways to end a losing streak, but the Tampa Bay Lightning picked one of the most difficult, giving up the lead three times before finally winning in a shootout Thursday.
Nikita Kucherov lifted the puck past Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, and Ben Bishop stopped three shootout attempts to give the Lightning a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay Times Forum that ended a five-game home skid.
Ottawa earned at least a point in a sixth consecutive road game (4-0-2).
Tampa Bay kept grabbing a lead, but each time Ottawa battled back to tie.
"That's probably not your conventional goal that tied it in the third," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "The puck bounced around and then kind of fluttered in, but they earned their breaks."
The goal was the 100th of Neil's NHL career.
"The next hundred might be harder to get to, but it was a big moment for him," Spezza said. "It was a big goal for us. To get that point and to get out of here with a point keeps us moving in the right direction in the standings."
The Lightning grabbed a lead for the third time at 5:31 of the third period when Martin St. Louis hustled after a loose puck in the Ottawa zone and fed a pass to Ondrej Palat, standing alone to Anderson's right. Palat hit an empty net for his 11th goal of the season. The assist by St. Louis extended his point streak to nine games (eight goals, five assists). Defenseman Victor Hedman assisted on each of the Lightning goals, tying a career high.
"It feels great to break that home losing streak," Hedman said. "My legs felt good. Obviously it's fun to contribute on both ends of the ice."
Ottawa outshot Tampa Bay 16-5 in the third period after the teams traded goals in the second.
B.J. Crombeen put the Lightning in front 2-1 at 3:30. Hedman began the rush into the Ottawa end, fed the puck and regained it before shooting from the blue line to the left of Anderson. Crombeen snuck behind Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips and deflected the puck past Anderson for his second goal of the season.
With Tampa Bay's Teddy Purcell off the ice for his second tripping penalty of the game, the Ottawa power play scored for the second time when Spezza found Clarke MacArthur alone to Bishop's left. MacArthur had plenty of time to tee up the puck and beat Bishop to the right side. MacArthur's goal, his 18th of the season, came at 16:57.
Tampa Bay (30-16-5) had 10 shots on goal in the first four minutes of the game to one for Ottawa.
"We had some legs; we had a little bit of jump early," Cooper said. "I thought we kind of carried that through for 50 minutes. We kept finding a way to get the lead, get the lead, get the lead; unfortunately we kept giving up the lead. Anyway, we got the two [points]."
The first goal came at 14:32 while Purcell was in the penalty box for hooking. Lightning forward Tyler Johnson scooped up the puck after it skipped over Ryan's blade and he took off alone, lifting a shot over Anderson's shoulder from the right side. It was Tampa Bay's fourth shorthanded goal of the season.
That lead held up for 40 seconds before Karlsson tied the game with Purcell still in the penalty box. The power-play score, Karlsson's 12th goal of the season, came off a rebound of Spezza's shot from the left circle.
"I didn't like giving up that shorthanded goal to start," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said, "but we came back to tie the game three times, and to be on the road and get a point out of it, by coming back to do it, I think is good."
Ottawa (22-19-10) capitalized on its top-ranked road power play, scoring twice on three attempts. The Senators entered with a road success rate of 26.8 percent.
Bishop finished with 33 saves; Anderson made 35, and is 2-3 in shootouts.
"We competed all night," Anderson said. "We did the things we had to do to stay in this game. They came out flying; you have to give them credit. They came out on their toes and took it to us early."
Cooper expressed frustration that the Lightning were not able to close out the game in regulation.
"'Manage' is a huge word in our locker room. We've done that extremely well for most of the year," he said. "I guess you'll look back here and this will always show as a W in the win column. The game will be forgotten in 24 hours, but we have to be better."
|SHG - Tyler Johnson (13) ASST: Victor Hedman (17)|
1 - 0 TBL
|PPG - Erik Karlsson (12) ASST: Clarke MacArthur (21), Jason Spezza (21)|
1 - 1 Tie
|B.J. Crombeen (2) ASST: Victor Hedman (18), Valtteri Filppula (20)|
2 - 1 TBL
|PPG - Clarke MacArthur (18) ASST: Jason Spezza (22), Bobby Ryan (20)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Ondrej Palat (11) ASST: Martin St. Louis (26), Victor Hedman (19)|
3 - 2 TBL
|Chris Neil (6) ASST: Zack Smith (6), Erik Karlsson (37)|
3 - 3 Tie
|1||N. Kucherov||M. Zibanejad|
|2||V. Filppula||J. Spezza|
|3||M. St. Louis||K. Turris|
|Power Play %||0.0%||33.3%|
|% on Road||0.0%||0.0%|
|% at Home||0.0%||33.3%|
|Chris Neil Fighting (maj) against B.J. Crombeen|
|B.J. Crombeen Fighting (maj) against Chris Neil|
|Mark Barberio Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Teddy Purcell Hooking against Milan Michalek|
|Teddy Purcell Tripping against Kyle Turris|
|Chris Phillips Interference against Tyler Johnson|
|Cody Ceci Tripping against Ondrej Palat|