Skip to main content

Lightning bolt past slumping Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning Nikita Kucherov Victor Hedman - The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Brady Tkachuk’s frustration was palpable after his Ottawa Senators absorbed a 6-4 loss against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Tkachuk and his teammates were booed off the ice and fans called for head coach D.J. Smith’s firing throughout the game.

The Senators (4-6-0), who are without five regulars in their lineup, have struggled going 1-5-0 in their last six games.

“Whenever you don’t win it’s frustrating,” said Tkachuk. “It’s frustrating the negativity from the outside. The constant booing and the bullshit kind of from the crowd tonight was frustrating, too.

"I understand they’re a passionate fan base, I understand, I love it, but when you face adversity you don’t turn your back on the guys out there. I mean, we’re playing hard. I know it’s frustrating right now, but it’s not like we’re giving up out there. We’re fighting to the very end. So, to be honest with you, yeah, it was frustrating tonight.”

The game was tied 1-1 after the first thanks to Tkachuk’s first goal of the night and Victor Hedman’s second of the season, but the Lightning scored three unanswered goals in the second to take full control.

Tampa’s Brayden Point, with three goals and an assist, and Nikita Kucherov, who had a goal and four assists, were impressive for the Lightning (5-3-3), who snapped a two-game losing streak.

“It feels good to help contribute offensively,” said Point. “Still out there for too many (goals) against, but it feels good to contribute offensively, that’s for sure.”

Just 32 seconds into the period, Point came down the wing and beat Joonas Korpisalo high. Four minutes later Michael Eyssimont battled his way through Jake Sanderson and Travis Hamonic and got a shot off to beat Korpisalo, who was pulled after allowing three goals on 20 shots.

Tampa took a three-goal lead late in the period when Anton Forsberg, who allowed three goals on 17 shots, lost sight of the puck and Point was able to just get it across the goal line.

“I just thought they came out harder than us in the first period,” said Smith. “They’re on the right side of the puck. We score first and their top players came to play today. The second period they took it to us and put a ton of O-zone time on us and we weren’t able to bounce back.”

The Senators, trailing 4-1 to start the third, showed they still had fight with Claude Giroux scoring his third of the season.

The Lightning regained the three-goal lead on Point’s third of the night, and then Tkachuk scored his second of the night on the power play to keep Ottawa in it. Kucherov made it 6-3 just 16 seconds later. Ottawa continued to fight back with Drake Batherson making it 6-4 with just under eight minutes to play, but the Senators came up short.

“It was a game of responses, to be honest,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. “They get the first one and we came back and tied it and I thought that was big.

"And then we come out in the second and score early, and then when the game got a little hectic, I think Brady (Tkachuk) scored and we scored right after that and I thought that was big for us. Every time there was a little adversity for us, we responded and we pulled it on.”

Adversity has been difficult on the Senators and Smith admitted that maybe the accumulation of bad news lately has been compounding the issues on the ice as well.

“That’s probably fair to say,” Smith said. “We’ve just got to play. You’re young guys and just go out there and play the way you can play.

"Don’t read and don’t look at the standings and, you know, when this team plays loose and driving they can score, they can defend, they can do all these things. I think they’re just trying too hard.”

The Senators don’t play until Wednesday and will have plenty of time to ponder how to turn things around.


Ottawa’s Claude Giroux and Josh Norris joined the list of players willing to wear neck guards in a game.


The Senators are without five regulars in the lineup. D Thomas Chabot (hand), D Artem Zub (head), D Erik Brannstrom (head), C Ridly Greig (lower body) and RW Mark Kastelic (ankle). … LW Roby Jarventie, making his NHL debut, and RW Zach MacEwen were recalled from AHL Belleville. … Tampa’s Tyler Motte (hand) practised Friday, but is not ready to return.


Senators: Head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs Wednesday night

Lightning: Take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Monday night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2023.