Wiercioch scores in overtime, Senators edge Lightning 2-1
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Regulation or overtime, the Ottawa Senators will take the wins however they come. Especially while they're making a late playoff push.
Patrick Wiercioch scored 4:43 into overtime, leading the Senators past the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Thursday night.
''Winning games is fun and it doesn't matter how you win them,'' Wiercioch said. ''As a team, we'd rather be coasting in with 5-1 wins, but for whatever reason it's taken 65 minutes and plus the last few nights.''
Mark Stone also scored for the Senators, and Andrew Hammond made 28 saves to improve to 16-1-1 as an NHL starter.
Despite the win, the Senators were unable to gain ground in the standings and still trail Boston - which beat Detroit 3-2 - by three points. Ottawa still has a game in hand.
Jonathan Drouin scored the lone goal for Tampa Bay, which has lost four of its last five. Ben Bishop made 32 saves in defeat.
''All in all, we competed,'' Tampa coach Jon Cooper said. ''It comes down to our guys were tired there at the end and 16 seconds away from a shootout. ... I thought we battled hard. I can't ask for more from our guys.''
The Senators continued to struggle on the power play and were 0 for 5 with the man-advantage. Ottawa has gone 1 for 15 in its last three games.
Senators coach Dave Cameron could only shake his head when asked of his team's performance with the man-advantage.
''Too slow. We're way too slow,'' he said. ''We talk about it all the time. We don't practice it much because we don't practice much, but we're way too slow and I'm starting to think we're way too tight. You should at least be able to get the puck to the net and it hasn't been good enough, but fortunately it hasn't hurt us in terms of being able to get some wins.''
Both teams had a couple of good opportunities in the second period, but neither could capitalize. The Lightning outshot the Senators 10-8 in the middle frame, and Hammond made a great glove save on Steven Stamkos to keep it tied.
With 14 seconds remaining in the second, Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a knee-on-knee collision with Stamkos. Pageau was in visible pain as he required assistance to the dressing room, but was able to return for the start of the third.
The Senators opened the scoring at 5:03 as Stone, with his 20th of the season, jumped on Kyle Turris' rebound and banged it past Bishop.
''He's been good for a long time,'' Cameron said of Stone. ''He's been good right from the get-go and has started to get rewarded for it in the last while. He's just real good hockey IQ, sees the ice, unbelievable stick, wants the puck, wants to be a difference maker.
''Whatever line he's been on has been real good.''
Tampa tied it late in the period with a power-play goal by Drouin. Unable to win the battle to clear the puck along the boards, Anton Stralman grabbed the puck and was able to find Drouin all alone.
NOTES: The Senators were without LW Matt Puempel (high-ankle sprain) and LW Milan Michalek (undisclosed). D Jared Cowen and LW Colin Greening were healthy scratches. ... The Lightning were without defensemen Victor Hedman, Braydon Coburn, Jason Garrison and Adrej Sustr, as well as C Tyler Johnson.