That one word has been the biggest story for this Tampa Bay Lightning team as the season has gotten underway, and it was on display again Friday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-4 in front of a sold out Tampa Bay Times Forum.
For the Lightning, it was once again a story of two different periods deciding the outcome of a game.
After the first period that saw the Lightning take a 1-0 lead on a Matt Carle goal, the second period was much more active in terms of goalscoring, but not in the home teams favor. The Lightning would find themselves down 3-1 and 4-2 before getting a Victor Hedman goal to put the team back to within a goal. Second periods have not been kind to the Lightning this season, something head coach Guy Boucher knows has to be corrected moving forward.
“We just get away from everything that works, and it has been four games in a row now,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said of the second period struggles. “If it was me changing my game plan after the first, I would know where it came from. But it is not. It is against three different teams and round two is going to change. Coming into the second period, we take penalties and we turn the puck over at their blue line. We don’t play 200 feet of hockey. It costs us. It costs us momentum. It costs us having to come back or not being ahead because we are not on the same page.”
The third period saw the Lightning return to form, scoring three straight goals, including two from forward Ryan Malone, to give the Lightning the victory. It was the first victory in the last five tries against Ottawa.
The victory also gave the Lightning three wins in their first four games, and inched them just a bit closer to the good start they so desperately wanted coming out of the gate. Still there is a long way to go, and the mantra in the locker room all day long has been to take everything one game at a time.
“It was good, obviously we have a lot of home games,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “We want to focus on one game at a time. It’s not really cliché but we have to do that especially with this short season. We can’t get comfortable playing at home. We have a lot of home games but we still have to focus on one game at a time. We won this game and we look forward to the next game.
Rookie Cory Conacher continued his terrific start, checking in with another multi-point game. Conacher has recorded points in four straight games to kick off his NHL career.
The Lightning will return to the ice Sunday when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers. Game time in that one is 6pm.