Preview: Lightning expect better defensive effort vs. Senators
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
The NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to rebound from a rare loss when they visit the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.
The Lightning (29-8-3) are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, just their third loss in their past 15 games (12-2-1).
The Lightning earned their point against the Canadiens on the back of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 37 saves and improved his record to a league-best 26-5-2.
Tampa coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning will have to tighten things up against the Senators after an uncharacteristic defensive performance against Montreal.
“When we gave up the 3-on-1 in the first 20 seconds in the game, and then we turned the puck over right after that, it just kind of showed the mindset in how this was going to go,” Cooper told tampabay.com. “I can’t be too hard on our guys. They’ve played outstanding defense for a long period of time. We just didn’t (Thursday).
“I don’t know what our mental thought was coming into (the) game, but it clearly was not playing the right way. If it wasn’t for Vasy, who knows if it even goes to overtime?”
Vasilevskiy has allowed two goals in his past six appearances, going 4-0-1 with a 0.38 goals-againast average, .986 save percentage and three shutouts.
Lightning forward Tyler Johnson told Tampabay.com: “We can’t give up what we gave up (Thursday) and expect to win many games.”
The Senators will be playing the second of back-to-back games and are coming off a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the San Jose Sharks at home Friday. The Senators trailed 5-2 in the third period, but rallied on goals by Derick Brassard, Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman to tie it and Duchene scored seven seconds into overtime for the win.
Duchene’s goal is a franchise record for fastest goal from the start of overtime. The previous record was 28 seconds by Radek Bonk against the Boston Bruins March 11, 2003.
“We’ve got to build momentum off of this,” Stone said. “We can’t have a lapse. We can celebrate the game for the next few minutes, but our focus has to shift to the best team in the league in Tampa Bay and we know we have our work cut out for us, but it looked like the guys really stuck to the plan and got it done.”
Duchene had his first multi-goal game in 25 games for the Senators since being acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche Nov. 5.
“I think we finally got rewarded for the things we’ve been doing,” Duchene said. “We’ve had some tough stretches defensively and offensively, but we’ve been doing a lot of good things for a while and it hasn’t been going in. It’s nice to see that happen tonight, we had a lot of guys step up for us.
“Once we made it 5-4 I think we felt like we were going to win the game.”