OTTAWA — Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 5-3 win against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.
Stamkos broke a 2-2 tie at 7:32 of the third when he controlled a rebound at the edge of the crease, outwaited Senators goaltender Matt Murray, and scored into an open net.
“I think we just kept patient with our game,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “We had some good looks (in the third period). We didn’t sit back, we were active. Some good chances and guys made some great plays there at the end. [Anthony Cirelli] and [Ondrej Palat] finding each other (for goals) a couple times, and obviously [Stamkos] driving the net. … That was a big, tiebreaking goal.”
Palat had a goal and two assists, and Brian Elliott made 24 saves for the Lightning (6-3-2), who extended their point streak to five games (4-0-1).
“I feel good getting back in there and coming into a rink that I’ve known pretty well throughout the years,” said Elliott, who played for Ottawa from 2007 to 2011. “It’s good to get some shots under my belt early. Then we settled in and played a really good game.”
Brady Tkachuk scored in his first game since being named captain on Friday, and Murray made 28 saves for the Senators (3-7-1), who have lost four in a row (0-3-1), allowing five goals in each game.
“I was definitely overwhelmed with all the support throughout the whole night and I really appreciate all the support from the fans,” Tkachuk said. “But like I said yesterday, it’s not just going to be one person. It’s going to be a group of us, it’s going to be the whole team.”
Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the season when his point shot deflected in off Senators defenseman Josh Brown on the power play to give the Lightning a 1-0 at 4:27 of the first period. The Lightning were outshot 13-4 in the first.
“[Elliott] was great tonight,” Hedman said. “He made some big saves, especially in the first. I can’t put myself in his shoes, but it can’t be easy playing once every 12 days. It’s not an easy job. But he’s such a professional and such a veteran. He knows how to prepare for games.”
Connor Brown intercepted a pass from Lightning defenseman Cal Foote and scored with a snap shot to tie it 1-1 at 1:39 of the second.
Tampa Bay appeared to take a 2-1 lead at 5:16 when Mathieu Joseph scored at the edge of the crease, but it was waived off because of goalie interference. The Lightning used a coach’s challenge and the call on the ice was upheld. Tampa Bay was assessed a minor penalty for delay of game.
Jan Rutta gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead at 10:06 of the second when he beat Murry glove side with a wrist shot.
“When you watch them, they’re complete players all over the ice,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said of Tampa Bay. “They’re above the puck. They don’t give anything. They just keep working and that’s the challenge for our guys. With as much skill as we have, we have to learn the other side of the puck.”
Tkachuk one-timed a cross-ice pass from Drake Batherson on a 2-on-1 to tie it 2-2 with 43 seconds remaining in the second period.
Nick Paul nearly tied it when his shot hit the crossbar with 3:18 remaining in the third period.
Palat scored five-hole on a breakaway to make it 4-2 less than two minutes later with 1:41 left.
“It was a big thing for us to come out in the third and not change, not chase the game, even with it tied,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We didn’t and got rewarded for it.”
Cirelli scored into an empty net to make it 5-2 with 34 seconds remaining.
“In those last two periods, we didn’t give very much up,” Cooper said. “If you want to win hockey games in this league, you’ve got to defend. And we’re used to scoring goals, we have been over the years. Taking [forward Nikita Kucherov] out of our lineup probably takes away half a goal, maybe a goal a game, because that’s what he can deliver for you.”
Logan Shaw tipped a point shot to make it 5-3 with 16 seconds remaining.
“We played a very mature hockey team and they just kept playing their game for the whole 60 minutes,” Tkachuk said. “I think we can learn from their team. They’re two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, and work to the very end.”
NOTES: Elliott, who won for the first time with the Lightning, has at least one win with six NHL teams (Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators). … The Senators were 0-for-4 on the power play and are 1-for-13 in their past four games. … Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev served the first of a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner in a 2-1 overtime loss Thursday.