In many ways, this game mirrored Tuesday's loss to the Boston Bruins. The Lightning had a strong, defensive first period. In the second period, they netted the game's first goal, but then surrendered the next two and faced a deficit after 40 minutes. They allowed the eventual game-winner in the third period.
Beyond the sequence of the goals, there was another similarity between this contest and Tuesday's. In both, the Lightning did not respond well when the opponent made a push. Versus Ottawa, that dip occurred after Tyler Johnson scored early in the second period to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. The next three minutes were rough ones for the Bolts, however. Trailing by a goal, Ottawa raised its level and the Lightning didn't match it. The Bolts lost puck battles, couldn't execute plays to get the puck up ice and spent the majority of that time stuck in their own end. Nearly three minutes after Johnson's goal, Mark Stone tied the game when he finished a shot from the top of the crease. It was a disappointing sequence - at a time when the Lightning could have built upon the Johnson goal and potentially added to their lead, they fell flat instead and lost their advantage.
Video: TBL Recap: Johnson, Point score in 5-2 lossTo their credit, the Lightning pushed back after the Stone goal and applied consistent pressure for the next several minutes. But their ability to control the puck in the offensive zone didn't translate to shots and scoring chances. So the game remained tied at one. After taking a penalty at 10:20 of the second, the Lightning yielded a power play goal to Kyle Turris at 11:03 and Ottawa had the lead. For good, as it turned out.
Over the final 29 minutes of the game, the Lightning weren't able to make a sustained push to erase the deficit. Ottawa defended well with the lead and the Lightning were guilty of ill-timed mistakes that led to a couple of more Senators goals. During an early third period penalty kill, the Lightning had an odd-man shorthanded bid, but passed their way out of a scoring chance. The Sens intercepted the puck and countered. Before the Lightning could get organized defensively, Mike Hoffman blasted a point shot past a screened Andrei Vasilevskiy. The sequence leading to the fourth Ottawa goal began with an icing against the Sens and an offensive zone faceoff for the Lightning. But the Lightning lost the puck in the o-zone and allowed the Sens to move it into the Lightning end. The Bolts then failed to clear the puck and Stone deflected in a point shot from Erik Karlsson. The second Stone goal came just 1:36 after Brayden Point had cut the Ottawa lead to 3-2.
In his postgame media session, head coach Jon Cooper suggested that the team's confidence has been affected by these tough times - that the players may be waiting for something bad to happen. That's a feeling not conducive to having success on the ice and Cooper stated that the players are going to have to find a way to get that out of their system.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Kyle Turris' PPG to make it 2-1.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Mark Stone - Senators. Two goals and assist.
- Erik Karlsson - Senators. Three assists.
- Zack Smith - Senators. Assist.