TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Tampa Bay needed extra time for a win over rebuilding Ottawa in a game where one Lightning star was benched.
With Nikita Kucherov spectating after a costly turnover, Anthony Cirelli scored with 19 seconds left in overtime and Tampa Bay beat the Senators 4-3 Tuesday night.
”He willed us to two points tonight, that’s what he did,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
Cirelli split two defenders near the blue line and lifted a shot past Marcus Hogberg.
”I saw a little bit of a gap there, I just used my speed, lucky to get by them and just want to get one on net,” Cirelli said.
Tampa Bay also got goals from Kucherov, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Point, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves. Kucherov, the NHL MVP last season, sat out the third period and overtime.
”As a coach, we were making decisions and that was what was best for us to win tonight,” Cooper said. ”He’s a huge part of our team. It could’ve been anybody. As a group we put ourselves in this position. We wanted to win this game tonight and this is what we’re going with.”
The Lightning were looking to rebound following a 5-2 loss to NHL-leading Washington on Saturday night.
Mark Borowiecki, Connor Brown and Anthony Duclair scored for the Senators, who were coming off a 6-1 loss Monday night at Florida. Hogberg, playing in his third game this season and seventh overall, stopped 36 shots.
”We did the little things that we had to do,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. ”Certainly our goalie kept us alive but that’s a team that’s built to win right now. We have a lot of kids over here that are learning day to day and these are valuable lessons for us. I really like the way we stuck together.”
Duclair got his ninth goal over the last seven games on a breakaway after Kucherov’s turnover as the Senators tied it at 3-3 at 15:46 of the second.
Hogberg, looking for his first NHL win, made several strong saves during the first half of the third before the Senators’ NHL lowest-ranked power play failed to score while Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos served 4 minutes for high-sticking at 9:51.
Kucherov opened the scoring 7:27 into the game from the high slot. Hogberg lost his stick while moving to his right to try and stop Victor Hedman’s in-close shot and was scrambling to get back in position as the Lightning right wing got his 199th career goal.
After Borowiecki stopped a 16-game goal drought at 11:05 of the first, Paquette made it 2-1 with 2:38 left in the first.
Point scored at 3:32 of the second but Brown got the goal back 29 seconds later.
With defensemen Dylan DeMelo and Nikita Zaitsev out with injuries, Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot played 37:50.
”The minutes certainly were a little high,” Smith said with a smile. ”I don’t know if it’s the highest in the NHL this year but he was certainly really good. It’s not ideal for the long run certainly. We needed a point or better and we got it.”
NOTES: Kucherov has 10 goals and 30 points in 26 games against Ottawa. … Borowiecki tied his career highs of three goals and 11 points. … Tampa Bay C Tyler Johnson (lower body) returned after missing four games. … Senators C Chris Tierney played his 400th NHL game and had two assists.
Senators: Begin a four-game homestand Thursday night against Nashville.
Lightning: Host Dallas on Thursday night.
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