OTTAWA — All things considered, Lightning coach Rick Tocchet was pleased after Wednesday night's game with the Senators.
He wasn't wild about the 3-2 overtime loss at Scotiabank Place, but there were positives to discuss, most notably the effort of a makeshift defense that welcomed the season's 19th member, minor-league callup Richard Petiot.
The point for a regulation tie was welcomed, too, as Tampa Bay (21-32-14) increased its lead over the 30th-place Islanders to four points despite losing its fourth straight.
"It's a lot better effort," Tocchet said. "We got some new D, and I thought they really hung in there. They did a good job."
Especially after Saturday's humiliating 9-3 loss to the Hurricanes.
"You could tell," Tocchet said, "guys played a lot harder."
But it is one of those seasons. If there is a bounce to be had, it does not go Tampa Bay's way.
Tied 2-2 with power-play goals by defenseman Cory Murphy and wing Adam Hall, Tampa Bay missed two opportunities to win before Mike Fisher's rebound shot through the legs of goaltender Karri Ramo with 2:22 left in the extra period gave Ottawa its fourth straight win and depressed the Lightning's overtime record to 3-14.
Marty St. Louis, with a clear shot from the slot with two seconds left in regulation, fired the puck high and over the net.
"I didn't know how much time was left. I was rushing, and I didn't get all of it," St. Louis said.
He also was dead tired after his superb hustle negated a potential icing. Still, he said, "You can't go over the net like that."
Then there was the overtime three-on-one with St. Louis, Murphy and Vinny Lecavalier that did not produce a shot. Still, Tocchet was reluctant to criticize.
"We have to be teachers now," he said of the staff that includes associate coach Mike Sullivan and assistant Wes Walz.
So seeing the defense limit Ottawa to 27 shots, seven combined in the third period and overtime, was big. Defenseman Matt Smaby led with four of the team's 17 blocked shots and had a team-high 23 minutes, 35 seconds of ice time.
"They've been under fire here a little bit, so I've got to give them credit," Tocchet said. "They're trying.
"The practices and the video that Sully and Walzy had have really helped."
It's a process, he added: "I know it's frustrating, and at times I can be negative, but we're in a position now that we have to keep fighting."
And in time, said Murphy, the Ottawa native who had a cheering section in the stands, "We're going to get those breaks."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Murphy 4 (Lecavalier, St. Louis), 2:37 (pp). 2, Ottawa, Shannon 4 (Spezza, Alfredsson), 4:53 (pp). Penalties—Bell, Ott (tripping), 1:44; Artyukhin, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:37; Donovan, Ott (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:37; Welch, TB (hooking), 4:02; Artyukhin, TB, served by Karsums, double minor-misconduct (roughing), 8:36; Ruutu, Ott (roughing), 8:36; Malone, TB (closing hand on puck), 12:41; Petiot, TB (hooking), 19:07.
Second Period—3, Ottawa, Kelly 9 (Alfredsson, Phillips), 9:25 (sh). 4, Tampa Bay, Hall 5 (Artyukhin, Krajicek), 9:38 (pp). Penalties—Schubert, Ott (tripping), 8:07; Phillips, Ott (tripping), 14:13.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Spezza, Ott (hooking), 3:27; Malone, TB (hooking), 3:30; Lee, Ott (delay of game), 9:30; Welch, TB (interference), 11:17.
Overtime—5, Ottawa, Fisher 11 (Phillips, Volchenkov), 2:38. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 8-8-6-2—24. Ottawa 11-9-4-3—27. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 2 of 5; Ottawa 1 of 6. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Ramo 2-7-3 (27 shots-24 saves). Ottawa, Elliott 11-4-3 (24-22). A—19,231 (19,153).