What a performance by the Lightning. They were playing their second half of a back-to-back and third game in four nights against a rested opponent, one that was on a six-game winning streak. And despite that circumstantial disadvantage, the Lightnng dictated play for much of this game and deserved the two points that came with the overtime victory.
In particular, their third period effort was outstanding. Instead of the fresher Senators having an edge, the Lightning were the more dangerous team. In the final 20 minutes of regulation, they regularly won puck battles, were relentless in their forechecking and created numerous scoring chances. If not for a handful of remarkable saves from Mike Condon, the Lightning would have pulled away in the third period.
But because of Condon, the outcome remained in doubt. And the Lightning had to kill a penalty in the final 1:58 of the third to avoid a disastrous regulation loss. But they did a magnificent job of killing that infraction - and received a crucial save from Andrei Vasilevskiy on a Zack Smith open look in the closing seconds of the third.
Speaking of Vasilvskiy, he was, like Condon, terrific in this game. He wasn't as busy as his counterpart, but he provided the Lightning with key situational saves throughout the game.
In all, it was a much better overall outing for the Lightning than their game on Monday against the Rangers. Unlike Monday's contest, the Lightning had a strong first period - they received an early goal from Brayden Point on a rebound and had several chances to extend the lead before the period ended. Yanni Gourde had two open looks on Condon and Ondrej Palat almost deflected in a Jake Dotchin shot in the final few seconds of the first.
Even though the Lightning yielded the tying goal to Tommy Wingels early in the second off a d-zone turnover (a pass that deflected off the referee), they kept their puck management issues to a minimum. That solid play carried over to the third, a frame in which they posted 12 shots and had at least six or seven Grade-A scoring chances.
But they didn't get rewarded until overtime. Jonathan Drouin almost won it for the Bolts when his shot rang off the post and ricocheted back to Condon. But that would be their last close call. The sequence that led to the winning goal began with Victor Hedman breaking up an Ottawa rush in the Tampa Bay zone. He quickly countered with Palat on a two-on-one. From the right circle in the Ottawa end, Palat slid a perfect pass back to Hedman, who redirected it into the net. It was Hedman's 14th goal of the season, a new career high.
This busy stretch continues for the Lightning on Thursday, when they host Toronto. We'll see if they can produce another high-quality performance in what will be their fourth game in six nights.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Hedman's OT winner.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1. Victor Hedman - Lightning. GWG in OT.
2. Brayden Point - Lightning. Goal.
3. Andrei Vasilevskiy - Lightning. 31 saves.