OTTAWA, Ontario — The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost back-to-back games in regulation just three times so far this season. They were determined to keep from adding to that total on Sunday.
Tyler Johnson scored two goals and Nikita Kucherov added two assists to lead the Lightning to a 4-2 win over the Senators for their first win of the new year following a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh last Friday night.
The Lightning took a 3-2 lead into the third period and increased it to 4-2 at the 7:58 mark on Johnson's second goal of the game, just 3 seconds after Chris Phillips emerged from the penalty box to end the Lightning's power play.
Johnson took a pass from Kucherov that everyone else thought was going to be a shot, and left Johnson with a wide open net to shoot at.
"If it hadn't had hit my stick, I don't think I would have got it," Johnson said of the pass. "It's fun playing with him and it's amazing the things he can do and he gave me two easy goals, for sure."
The Senators played out the game short-handed as their captain Erik Karlsson took a double minor in the closing minutes for hooking and then unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Lightning also got goals from Victor Hedman, who added an assist, and Steven Stamkos. Ben Bishop made 20 saves and improved to 6-0-2 against his former team.
Ottawa got a goal and an assist from Kyle Turris, along with another goal from Mark Stone, but saw their two-game winning streak end. Robin Lehner made 26 saves.
The Senators would have been hard-pressed to get a better start than they did Sunday when Turris scored just 32 seconds into the first period.
Clarke MacArthur was carrying the puck around Tampa's goal and reversed it back to Turris at the side of the goal. Turris then beat Bishop with a quick shot over the left shoulder just inside the far post.
"It was a little unfortunate that we got behind, but I thought the guys played really well in the second period," Johnson said.
That would account for the only scoring of the first period, but the teams combined for four goals in the second— three of which came from the Lightning.
"It was tough," Senators defenseman Cody Ceci said. "We fell apart a bit in the second period and you can't do that against a team like that. We let up for a bit and they made us pay."
Hedman tied it at 1 for the Lightning at 3:48 with a shot from the slot as all five Senators on the ice were scattered around Lehner.
A little under four minutes later, the Senators took their second lead when Stone scored just 4 seconds following the conclusion of a power play.
Stone's shot from the inside the circle beat Bishop just inside the post at 7:30 following a setup from Turris.
The Lightning then turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead in a span of 47 seconds before the end of the period.
"We scored at the end of the power play and I thought it gave us a little bit of an emotional lift and I thought we were all right," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "Then they counter with two quick goals and any time you give up a goal, you go back on your heels a little bit. And when you give up two that quick, it hurts."
Johnson tied the game on the power play at 16:08 before Stamkos gave the Lightning their first lead.
"Things haven't been going great lately," Stamkos said. "I was just trying to work hard and on that one I got the puck on the side wall and tried to make a play."
NOTES: Defensemen Marc Methot and Chris Wideman were scratches for the Senators, while defensemen Radko Gudas and Mark Barberio, along with forward J.T. Brown, were scratches for the Lightning. ... Senators F Clarke MacArthur has recorded at least one point in his last four games. ... Tyler Johnson not only leads the Lightning in points with 43, he also leads the NHL in even-strength points with 36.