OTTAWA — As did his teammates, Lightning center Tyler Johnson bemoaned Tampa Bay's effort Saturday as "too little, too late."
You just can't give up four first-period goals and expect to win. That the Lightning made a game of it, falling 5-3 to the Senators at Scotiabank Place, simply masked the deficiencies.
Primary on the list, center Steven Stamkos said, was "not enough urgency."
"We can't wait till we're down to start showing emotion," he said. "I've got to be better at that. Everyone has to be better at that. We have to start from the puck drop."
But they didn't, and Tampa Bay (13-17-1) lost its second game on a three-game road trip that finishes tonight against the Jets.
This was supposed to be a bounce-back game after Wednesday's awful 4-2 loss at Toronto.
But bad plays by defensemen Victor Hedman and Sami Salo led to two first-period goals. Goaltender Mathieu Garon whiffed on Eric Gryba's stoppable shot from the high slot, and Daniel Alfredsson scored on a power play for Ottawa's fourth goal in the final 7:11 of the first period.
"We obviously were not prepared to play with that urgency in those 10 minutes," Stamkos said. "You can't expect to win a game when you give a team a 4-0 lead."
And the Lightning can't expect to win when Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and Teddy Purcell have just four shots among them and are a collective minus-7.
The bright spot was some of the young guys.
Johnson, who has three goals and six points in five games since his callup from AHL Syracuse, scored twice in 2:17 to make the score 4-2 with 6:07 left in the third period. Richard Panik had an assist and four hits, and was plus-2.
Tom Pyatt had five shots on goal, and goalie Cedrick Desjardins — in relief of Garon, who allowed three goals on 11 shots — made 19 saves on 20 shots.
Tampa Bay also got help from Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner, who let Purcell's wrist shot go through his legs to make it 4-3 with 1:59 remaining. Daniel Alfredsson's empty-net goal ended any hope of a comeback.
Coach Guy Boucher acknowledged that "mental mistakes cost us," but he also said of Lehner, "It's the first time this year this goalie (allowed) three goals in regulation, never more than two, so we did a lot of good stuff."
It should be pointed out, though, Lehner played just his eighth game of the season.
As general manager Steve Yzerman said after the first period: "It's hard for the players. It's hard for the coach. It's hard for everybody in our organization. It's a difficult time."
First Period—1, Ottawa, Silfverberg 8 (Methot), 12:49. 2, Ottawa, Gryba 1 (Turris, Methot), 14:29. 3, Ottawa, Latendresse 4 (Silfverberg, Zibanejad), 17:01. 4, Ottawa, Alfredsson 7 (Wiercioch, Gonchar), 19:50 (pp). Penalties—Crombeen, TB, major (fighting), 14:40; Kassian, Ott, major (fighting), 14:40; Gryba, Ott (interference), 17:31; Killorn, TB (hooking), 18:40; Panik, TB (boarding), 20:00; Neil, Ott, served by Latendresse, double minor-misconduct (roughing), 20:00.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Crombeen, TB, served by Panik, minor-major-misconduct (instigator, fighting), 9:54; Methot, Ott, major (fighting), 9:54; Regin, Ott (hooking), 17:59.
Third Period—5, Tampa Bay, Johnson 2 (Brewer, Panik), 11:37. 6, Tampa Bay, Johnson 3 (Carle), 13:53. 7, Tampa Bay, Purcell 7 (Hedman, Salo), 18:01. 8, Ottawa, Alfredsson 8 (Turris, Greening), 19:39 (en). Penalties—Wiercioch, Ott (tripping), 4:25. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 8-14-10—32. Ottawa 15-7-10—32. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 4; Ottawa 1 of 2. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Garon (11 shots-8 saves), Desjardins 0-2-0 (17:01 first, 20-19). Ottawa, Lehner 3-1-4 (32-29). A—20,016 (19,153). T—2:23.