The Ottawa Senators finally have some confidence and it’s paying dividends.
Ryan Dzingel scored twice and Mark Stone had a goal and two assists Saturday night the Senators knocked off the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3.
Ottawa has now won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 13-16 after a come-from-behind 6-5 victory Friday night over the San Jose Sharks.
“We’re starting to come,” said Stone. “It shows character and the ability to stick together as a team.”
The Senators had the start and finish they wanted Saturday and weathered a difficult second period.
“It’s been a while since we played two games back-to-back the way that we did here,” said captain Erik Karlsson, who had three assists.
“Last game I don’t think we started well and definitely didn’t have a second period that was good enough and neither did we today, but we found a way to hang in there and gave ourselves a chance and it was definitely nice to play the way that we do and help each other out as much as we do. It makes it a lot easier for everybody out there to be themselves and believe in themselves and we’re going to need a lot more of it too.”
Matt Duchene, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored for the Senators (14-17-9) as Craig Anderson made 45 saves.
Victor Hedman, Slater Koekkoek and Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning (29-9-3), who allowed six goals against for the first time this season. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was far from impressed with his team’s effort.
“You can’t win a Stanley Cup in the regular season, you have to get to the playoffs first,” said Cooper. “I think there is a team in there that thinks we’ve already made the playoffs. With that attitude, we are not going to go anywhere. I feel bad for our goaltender. You can’t spot them a 3-0 lead in this league and expect to come back. Give them a little credit for coming back, but in the end, the same mistakes cost us.
“Give Ottawa credit, they didn’t care who they were playing. They just came out and played a hockey game and they won it. Good on them.”
The Senators jumped out to 3-0 first-period lead, but allowed the Lightning back in the second as they tied it 3-3. But when Tampa got out to a strong start in the third the Senators managed to hold their own and took back control midway through the period.
Stone pots winner
“What we wanted to have in the third period was a push,” said Ottawa coach Guy Boucher. “Whatever energy was left was going to be put on the ice and the character to stick to what we were supposed to do, not be on our heels, be on our toes and making sure we applied pressure and we got great step ups and we were physical like we were in the first period.
“I thought in the second period we weren’t as physical, and that was part of our game plan and we got back to that in the third period.”
With the game tied 3-3 Stone picked up a Derick Brassard rebound to beat Vasilevskiy with the eventual winner at 10:44. Pageau and Dzingel scored insurance goals soon after.
Mark Stone’s 17th goal of the season puts the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sens?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Sens</a> ahead in the third. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoSensGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GoSensGo</a> <a href=”https://t.co/KuNLqgMzre”>pic.twitter.com/KuNLqgMzre</a>
Trailing 3-0 the Lightning dominated the second to tie the game 3-3.
Hedman made it 3-1 just 26 seconds into the second as he pounced on a loose puck and beat Anderson with a wrist shot, and just over a minute later Koekkoek took a feed from Nikita Kucherov to score from the circle.
The tying goal came on the power play with Smith in the box for a roughing penalty and he paid for it as Gourde deflected Mikhail Sergachev’s shot to tie it 3-3.
The Senators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period on goals from Dzingel, Duchene, who now has four goals in his last five games, and Smith.
He’s still feeling the scoring buzz.<a href=”https://twitter.com/Matt9Duchene?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Matt9Duchene</a> gives ‘er a rip to keep the <a href=”https://twitter.com/Senators?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Senators</a> rollin’. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBLvsOTT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TBLvsOTT</a> <a href=”https://t.co/nrHIlPNsDj”>pic.twitter.com/nrHIlPNsDj</a>