Hoffman scores twice, Senators win 7-4 to stop Lightning run
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) On a Florida road trip against two streaking teams, the Ottawa Senators have been no pushovers at all.
One night earlier, the struggling Senators (25-33-11) halted an eight-game home winning streak for the Florida Panthers.
”It’s something positive that we can look at in a season that really hasn’t gone the way we expected,” said Hoffman, who reached the 20-goal mark for the fifth consecutive season. ”These two games show that no one in this room has quit. It’s probably the toughest two teams you can play back-to-back in the entire league as of right now. We want to finish on the strong side.”
Tom Pyatt, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Dzingel and Marian Gaborik each had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Magnus Paajarvi also scored, and Mike Condon finished with 42 saves for his first victory since Feb. 1, ending a seven-game winless stretch.
”It’s been a while, personally,” Condon said. ”It’s a good feeling that I have missed.”
Tampa Bay, tied with Nashville atop the NHL standings at 100 points, hadn’t lost in regulation since Feb. 17. But the Lightning’s lead over Boston in the Atlantic Division was trimmed to four points after the Bruins rallied past Carolina.
The defeat also spoiled the first career hat trick for J.T. Miller, who has five goals in seven games for Tampa Bay since being acquired from the New York Rangers at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had three assists.
The Lightning, however, allowed seven goals in a game for the first time since Jan. 12, 2015, at Philadelphia.
”Turnovers. Bad tracks. Inability to block shots. Inability to kill a penalty,” coach Jon Cooper said. ”Add them all up. Probably a little bit of bad bounces I guess, but maybe that drops it by one or two. Still score four and lose by three … that’s a tough night at home.”
Tampa Bay opened the scoring 4:19 into the game but Ottawa scored three times in the first period and never looked back, allowing the Lightning to get within a goal just once the rest of the way.
”Playing a team coming in on a back-to-back and giving up seven goals … it’s unacceptable,” Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman said. ”It’s hard to win games giving up that many goals.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay activated G Peter Budaj off injured reserve. Budaj saw his first action since Dec. 27, entering in relief of Andrei Vasilevskiy for the third period. … Lightning G Louis Domingue was reassigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. … Ottawa RW Alex Burrows appeared in his 900th NHL game. … Senators D Erik Burgdoerfer got his first NHL point. … Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman got his 100th career power-play point. … Kucherov became the fifth player in franchise history to reach 90 points in a season, joining Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Stamkos and Brad Richards.
Lightning: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Senators: Host the Dallas Stars on Friday.
For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey