Senators slip past Lightning 4-3 in shootout
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The struggling Ottawa Senators needed a boost Monday night, and their first-year captain provided it.
Jason Spezza scored in regulation and had the only goal in a shootout, lifting the Senators to a 4-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists, and goalie Robin Lehner made 35 saves to help the Senators halt a six-game losing streak.
''It's been a frustrating stretch of games here and difficult emotionally for us to lose that many hockey games in a row at this time of year,'' Spezza said.
''Hopefully we can string a few together and feel good about ourselves again and just move forward,'' Karlsson said. ''I think we've improved our game a lot, even though it hasn't been enough lately.''
Karlsson, the top-scoring defenseman in the NHL with 68 points, opened the scoring 3:57 into the game with his career-high 20th goal. Seventy seconds later, Nikita Kucherov snapped a shot past Lehner to tie it at 1.
Ottawa took a 3-1 lead midway through the second period, when Spezza and Kyle Turris scored 44 seconds apart against former Senators goalie Ben Bishop.
''He's one of the best players in the world,'' Bishop said of Spezza. ''I had him last time, he got me this time. I think we're even now.''
The Lightning rallied from a two-goal deficit with power-play goals by Victor Hedman at 13:26 of the second period and Steven Stamkos at 5:44 of the third.
Bishop finished with 29 stops for Tampa Bay, which has earned a point in nine consecutive games (5-0-4) for the first time since its 2003-04 championship season.
The loss, however, dropped the Lightning into a third-place tie in the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Canadiens, who won a shootout at Boston.
''We need to get every point that we can,'' Hedman said. ''We want to be as high up in the standings as we can and get home ice.''
The Senators, meanwhile, are determined to finish strong.
''We are fighting to the end and it's nice for the guys to get this one,'' said Lehner, who won only once in his first seven career shootout appearances.
Notes: Stamkos played in his 400th NHL game. ... Ottawa RW Bobby Ryan (lower body) sat out for the first time this season. He was replaced by Mark Stone, who was recalled from AHL affiliate Binghamton. ... Lightning C Valtteri Filppula has four goals and nine assists during a nine-game points streak. ... Tampa Bay has scored on the power play five games in a row. ... The Lightning have scored three or more goals in nine consecutive games. The Senators have allowed that many in 10 straight. ... The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds were in attendance.