The Lightning are not putting together picture perfect efforts, but the perfect results are coming at the perfect time of the season. Tampa Bay battled its way to a out a 5-4 victory against Ottawa in front of an announced crowd of 17,136 at Canadian Tire Centre for a fifth consecutive win, matching a season best winning streak. The Lightning have points in season best seven consecutive games (5-0-2) to solidify their chase for a postseason spot, sitting alone in second place in the Atlantic Division with 12 games remaining in the regular season, two points ahead of Montreal and five points ahead of fourth place Toronto. Tampa Bay had to hold off a resilient effort from the Senators on Thursday, which came back to tie the game on three occasions, including late in the second before the Lightning pulled away and held on to improve to 7-2-1 in the second half of back-to-back games. “We keep getting two points, so they are all picture perfect to me,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “That game is 3-3 going into the third and we close out the game. You can look at it however you like, but that’s two more points than we had (before the game) and we will take it.’’ Ryan Callahan had the eventual game winner late in the third for a power play goal and Ben Bishop, also playing on consecutive nights, stopped 27 shots for his club record 34th victory of the season as the Lightning won for the first time in Ottawa since Jan. 8, 2011. Eric Brewer ended a year-long goalless streak while Teddy Purcell ended a 19-game stretch without a goal by scoring twice in the first period. Valtteri Filppula matched his career high with his 23rd goal. Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat all had two assists as Tampa Bay had 10 different players register a point. “We are just gelling right now, we have the never-quit attitude and we just keep rolling and rolling, and it doesn’t matter what period it is, we just seem to keep scoring,’’ Bishop said. “You would like to win a game 1-0 for sure, but as long as we are winning even if it’s 5-4, it doesn’t matter. All you want is the points and that’s all we need right now. So it doesn’t matter how.’’ For two periods, the two teams traded goals with Ottawa answering three times when the Lightning would go ahead. Purcell ended his goal-scoring drought 23 seconds into the game, one-timing a back pass from Hedman for his first goal since Jan. 19. Ottawa answered that when Kyle Turris stripped Sami Salo of the puck along the boards to send in Clarke MacArthur for a shorthanded breakaway to tie the game at 10:45. Purcell put in a rebound of Hedman shot as 12:38, but Erik Karlsson answered that with a power play goal at 13:07.
Not-so-perfect Lightning prevail against Ottawa
Tampa Tribune | Mar 21