Senators, Lightning get together for second meeting in a week
Tampa Bay rallied from down two goals to defeat Ottawa in overtime on Sunday, the second game of the its current four-game winning streak.
Hedman has been out since suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury on Oct. 26 in Vegas. He resumed skating with the team earlier this week and was a full participant at practice on Friday, including working with the top power play unit, an indicator he will be back Saturday.
Tampa Bay returned defenseman Cameron Gaunce to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League on Friday, clearing the path for Hedman to be back in the lineup.
The Lightning were able to maintain their high level of play in Hedman’s absence, posting a 5-2 record while he was out to remain at the top of the league standings.
“I think that’s the beauty with our team, a lot of guys can play in a lot of different situations with different lines, whatever it may be, and we just kind of roll,” center Tyler Johnson said.
The Senators are also going to have a player bak that missed the last meeting between the teams as rookie Brady Tkachuk was back in the lineup on Thursday. The power forward, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft, started the season with three goals and six points in five games before suffering a leg injury on Oct. 15.
Tkachuk returned Thursday and played 14 minutes with five registered hits. His return was welcomed by his teammates.
“He was great. He does a lot of really good things,” center Matt Duchene told NHL.com. “He’s really good with the puck, he’s a big body. I think the thing that impressed me the most about him is the maturity in his game at such a young age. He’s going to have a long, amazing career.”
While the Senators had a quick start against the Lightning the last time out, it was a slow start that did them in against Vegas. The Senators want to find more of a consistent effort to help them turn around the recent rough stretch with two wins in the past nine games, allowing four or more goals seven times in that stretch.
“We just had a bad start, myself included,” Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel told NHL.com. “You can’t give a team like that a couple-goal lead. It’s tough when you battle back, too, after that. So we just got to have a better start, myself included. You’ve got to be ready to go.”