TAMPA — The Lightning knew it needed a significant response from its special teams Sunday night, having allowed three power-play goals in Friday's crushing collapse against Washington.
"It's been costing us games," coach Jon Cooper said. "If we're going to get back into this thing, our special teams need to be better."
Both units were Sunday, Tampa Bay killing off all five Senators power plays in a 5-2 win in front of 19,092 at Amalie Arena. The Lightning (17-14-4), which has won nine of its past 14 to pull within two points of Ottawa for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, was boosted by two power-play goals, just the third time this season it has had a couple in one game.
"Hopefully," captain Steven Stamkos said, "this can be a springboard for our confidence."
Tampa Bay did it shorthanded. Entering the game without five regulars, the Lightning played with 10 forwards after Brian Boyle (upper body) left the game less than two minutes in after his head hit the boards and the ice on a hit by Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki. Boyle was considered day to day.
"It's kind of scary when you walk into the room after the game and there's eight guys lined up that are injured," Stamkos said. "You're hoping they come back. But good teams find ways to win. There's a lot of back-pocket excuses, but we found ways during this tough stretch."
Stamkos continued his resurgence because of a shoot-first mentality. He scored two goals (one an empty-netter) on seven shots, giving him three goals and 12 shots in the past two games.
"Five shots the other night, (he) scored," Cooper said. "He had seven (Sunday), has two (goals). Simple math."
The Lightning also continued to get a lift from #TampaCuse. Center Mike Angelidis, one of seven AHL Syracuse forwards called up this season, scored the winning goal, pouncing on a rebound early in the second period. It was Angelidis' first NHL goal since the 2011-12 season.
"It's been a long time, and it was awesome," he said.
Mike Blunden and Jonathan Marchessault got assists.
"They call them #TampaCuse, and that's kind of where we are right now," Cooper said. "These guys are all contributing."
It didn't look good early, with the Senators scoring shorthanded four minutes in for a 1-0 lead. "That could have been a turning point in the game where we say, 'Oh, boy, here we go,' " Stamkos said.
But the Lightning responded a minute later with a power-play goal from Nikita Nesterov, then another two minutes later by Stamkos on a ticktacktoe play to make it 2-1.
"That was big," Stamkos said. "We kind of changed the momentum to our side and never looked back."
The Senators, down to four defensemen after Borowiecki's game misconduct and an injury to Cody Ceci, pulled within 3-2 with five minutes left in the second on a goal by defenseman Erik Karlsson, who logged 36 minutes, 34 seconds of playing time.
But Tampa Bay, clinging to a one-goal lead, killed off a power play with five minutes to go before two empty-netters sealed it. "It came down to special teams," Cooper said.
First—1, Ott, Smith 8 (Lazar), 4:20 (sh). 2, TB, Nesterov 1 (Hedman, Killorn), 5:23 (pp). 3, TB, Stamkos 13 (Kucherov, Namestnikov), 7:16 (pp). Penalties—Borowiecki, Ott, served by Prince (interference -, fighting), 1:40; Coburn, TB, served by Marchessault, minor-major-misconduct (instigator, fighting), 1:40; Smith, Ott (tripping), 6:03; Callahan, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:50; Bishop, TB, served by Blunden (hooking), 19:51.
Second—4, TB, Angelidis 1 (Blunden, Marchessault), 2:45. 5, Ott, Karlsson 9 (Hoffman, Pageau), 14:28. Penalties—Kucherov, TB (hooking), 3:03; Kucherov, TB (holding), 12:22.
Third—6, TB, Killorn 6, 18:27 (en). 7, TB, Stamkos 14 (Kucherov, Namestnikov), 18:40 (en). Penalties—Namestnikov, TB (high-sticking), 14:55. Missed Penalty Shot—Filppula, TB, 8:56 third. Shots on Goal—Ott 8-10-7—25. TB 11-14-10—35. Power-play opportunities—Ott 0 of 5; TB 2 of 3. Goalies—Ott, Hammond 2-2-2 (33 shots-30 saves). TB, Bishop 14-10-2 (25-23).