TAMPA — So, what do you want to talk about, the Lightning's terrific third periods or terrible second periods?
Both were on full display during Friday night's 6-4 victory over the Senators. Tampa Bay allowed four second-period goals to fall behind 4-3 but scored three in the third — with Ryan Malone getting the tying and winning tallies — to send the sellout crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum into delirium.
So, while Tampa Bay (3-1-0) reveled in another victory — "That's character," coach Guy Boucher said — it also fretted over being outscored 10-3 in the second period but outscoring opponents 11-1 in the third this season.
"We get away from everything that works," Boucher said. "It's been four games in a row. We take penalties, turn the puck over at their blue line. We don't play 200 feet of hockey."
Against Ottawa, the Lightning overcame two two-goal deficits in a wild second period in which the teams combined for six goals, five of which were scored in 3 minutes, 40 seconds. Three were scored in 30 seconds, a franchise record for two teams in a game.
Malone did the dirty work in the third, tying the score 4-4 3:39 into the period by tipping Vinny Lecavalier's shot and getting the winner with 7:02 left on a rebound.
Tom Pyatt scored an empty-netter.
Matt Carle, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman also scored. Sami Salo had two assists and tied a team record by going plus-5, and Cory Conacher, with two assists, took over the league's rookie scoring lead with seven points.
Anders Lindback made 32 saves as Ottawa had a 36-31 shot advantage, including 16-5 in the second period. The goaltender probably wants a couple of those goals back. But his 13 saves shut out the Senators in the third period, and his reach-back save on Chris Neil at 5:25, smothering the puck along the goal line, preserved the 4-4 tie.
Still, Salo said, "You can't every game expect to come back in the third period. The league is so tight, we can't expect to do that every time."
And consider this: The Lightning has outscored opponents 5-1 in the first period, meaning if you take out all the second periods, it is up 16-2.
Malone said players remind each other before second periods to stick to the game plan. And yet, "in the first period we come out shooting the puck, crashing the net, and in the second period we get away from that."
"This is the mental part we have to work on," Boucher said.
"We don't have forever to change that before it bites us in butt. It's enough."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Carle 1 (Conacher, Bergeron), 1:09 (pp). Penalties—Michalek, Ott (hooking), :35; Regin, Ott (delay of game), 3:53; Phillips, Ott (interference), 12:09; Karlsson, Ott (interference), 15:09; Neil, Ott, major (fighting), 18:10; Crombeen, TB, major (fighting), 18:10.
Second Period—2, Ottawa, Condra 1 (Neil, Gonchar), 4:11. 3, Ottawa, Spezza 2 (Alfredsson, Gonchar), 14:30 (pp). 4, Ottawa, Karlsson 3 (Michalek, Turris), 14:45. 5, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 2 (Salo, St. Louis), 15:00. 6, Ottawa, Turris 4 (Alfredsson, Daugavins), 17:30. 7, Tampa Bay, Hedman 1 (Stamkos, St. Louis), 18:10. Penalties—Purcell, TB (hooking), 12:56; Neil, Ott (interference), 13:37; Lee, TB (elbowing), 14:20.
Third Period—8, Tampa Bay, Malone 2 (Salo, Conacher), 3:39. 9, Tampa Bay, Malone 3 (Lecavalier, Hedman), 12:58. 10, Tampa Bay, Pyatt 2 (Stamkos), 19:18 (en). Penalties—Aulie, TB (interference), 3:52; Condra, Ott (roughing), 19:50; Borowiecki, Ott, minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:50; Hall, TB, minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:50; Aulie, TB, double minor-misconduct (roughing), 19:50. Shots on Goal—Ottawa 7-16-13—36. Tampa Bay 15-5-11—31. Power-play opportunities—Ottawa 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. Goalies—Ottawa, Bishop 0-1-0 (30 shots-25 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 2-1-0 (36-32).