Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning beats Senators

TAMPA — Before Thursday night's game with the Senators, Lightning captain Marty St. Louis took new linemate Ondrej Palat aside for a talk.

They spoke of where Palat should go in certain situations, in what position St. Louis likes to receive passes.

The conversation paid off.

St. Louis scored twice in a 3-1 victory over the Senators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, both off perfect passes from the rookie left wing.

"He played well," St. Louis said. "He's a strong skater, a smart player."

"It was awesome," said Palat, who played perhaps his best overall game of the season, also getting nine hits and two blocked shots.

Valtteri Filppula scored his 10th goal as the Lightning (17-10-1) broke a two-game losing streak. Goaltender Ben Bishop was terrific with 33 saves as Ottawa had a 34-22 shot advantage, 18-7 in the second period.

But celebrations were tempered. Tampa Bay's lengthy injury list got even longer as it lost Victor Hedman, the team's best defenseman, in the first period with a lower-body injury and defenseman Keith Aulie in the second period with a fractured hand that needs surgery.

So the Lightning played the last 27 minutes with five defensemen.

"A big effort from a very shorthanded team," coach Jon Cooper said.

Injuries partly forced the line changes that put St. Louis with Palat and center Tyler Johnson. But Cooper also wanted to find a spark for a team that had been shut out in three of its past five games, twice in a row and had not scored in 120 minutes, 34 seconds.

"When I saw the lineup, I was excited," Palat said. "I couldn't wait for the game to start to play with Marty."

They collaborated in the same way on both goals, with Palat tracking down the puck behind the net through traffic and finding St. Louis in front of the net.

That is exactly where Cooper — who Wednesday said his players were "taking shortcuts" and "cheating the game" — challenged his players to be. That is where St. Louis, who has 12 goals and a team-best 26 points, set up shop.

"You like to score goals and help your team win. I don't know if that's leadership. It's being opportunistic and putting yourself in that position," said St. Louis, whose goal with 3:15 left in the first period ended Tampa Bay's goal drought at 137:19. "(Palat) made great players. If he doesn't make those plays, I don't score those goals."

"I thought we had life," Cooper said. "We had our legs going. We played a north-south game. It was really good to see."

And a thrill for Palat.

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First Period1, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 11 (Palat, Carle), 16:45. PenaltiesSmith, Ott (holding stick), 9:06; Kucherov, TB (hooking), 12:21; Barberio, TB (hooking), 17:45.

Second Period2, Ottawa, Wiercioch 1 (Turris), 6:11 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 12 (Palat, Johnson), 13:19. PenaltiesAulie, TB (interference), 5:46; Sustr, TB (high-sticking), 7:28; Condra, Ott (goaltender interference), 8:33; Neil, Ott (hooking), 15:02; Crombeen, TB (hooking), 17:23.

Third Period4, Tampa Bay, Filppula 10, 10:56. PenaltiesSpezza, Ott (holding), 1:47.

Shots on GoalOttawa 8-18-8—34. Tampa Bay 5-7-10—22. Power-play opportunitiesOttawa 1 of 5; Tampa Bay 0 of 4. GoaliesOttawa, Lehner 4-6-2 (22 shots-19 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 15-5-1 (34-33). A16,562 (19,204). T2:28. Referees—Brad Watson, Marc Joannette. LinesmenDavid Brisebois, Scott Driscoll.

     
                           
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