TAMPA, Fla. – Evgeny Artyukhin is best known as a tough guy on the ice. For one night, the Tampa Bay Lightning right wing turned into a game-winning scorer.
Artyukhin scored in the eighth round of a shootout to lead the Lightning past the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday night. “I just watched the goalie and tried to shoot low,” Artyukhin said. “That worked.”
Artyukhin has four goals in 82 career NHL games, and none in his last 33 dating back to Feb. 9. It was first career shootout attempt Saturday.
“I just had a hunch about Arty,” Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose said. “I thought, let’s put the big guy out there and see what he could do.”
Artyukhin talked with his brother, who celebrated a birthday Saturday, on the phone before the game. Scoring a goal was discussed as a gift.
“I tried all game to score,” Artyukhin said.
Vincent Lecavalier and Matt Carle scored in regulation for the Lightning, who have won three in a row. Tampa Bay won the shootout 3-2.
Antoine Vermette and Dany Heatley had the Ottawa goals. The Senators completed a four-game road trip at 2-1-1.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game,” Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg said. “When it gets to a shootout, you don’t know what’s going to happen. We did some good things. We’ve just got to continue to improve our game.”
Carle pulled the Lightning even at 2 when he broke a personal 40 game goal-scoring drought with 6:12 left in the third. It was his first goal since Dec. 29 against Nashville.
Vermette put the Senators ahead 1-0 on a power-play rebound goal at 8:06 of the second. His first goal in nine games came after Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith stopped a shot from the blue line by Christoph Schubert.
Smith finished with 28 saves.
“Coming from behind like that, a big goal with a few minutes left, is a huge morale boost,” Smith said.
Lecavalier tied it 1-1 from the top of the right circle at 14:09 of the second. The Lightning captain has three goals and five points in his last three games.
Just 39 seconds after Lecavalier’s goal, Ottawa went back up 2-1 when Heatley scored from the low slot. He has a goal in three straight games.
Tampa Bay failed to score during a one-minute 46-second two-man advantage early in the third. Ottawa goalie Alex Auld turned aside the two shots he faced over the stretch.
Auld made 32 saves overall.
“I think our game is more where we want it to be,” Auld said. “More consistent. We feel that we did a lot of things well, and there’s still room for improvement. We’ve just to keep paying attention to details and the results will follow.”
Notes: Artyukhin had eight shots in regulation. … Senators D Filip Kuba picked up his 12th assist – coming in 11 games – this season on Heatley’s goal. … Tampa Bay C Ryan Craig played for the first time since hurting his knee in Nov. 2008. He started this season sidelined by a groin injury. … Ottawa D Chris Phillips, bothered by a sore foot, was in the lineup. … Tampa Bay’s Vinny Prospal and Lukas Krajicek had two assists each.