TAMPA, Fla. – The Ottawa Senators are in their longest winless streak in over a decade. However, the latest loss has the team feeling a little better about itself.
Vinny Prospal scored in the fourth round of a shootout and the Tampa Bay Lightning extended Ottawa’s losing streak to seven games with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night. The Lightning blew a 3-1 lead in the final two minutes but won the shootout 2-1.
Daniel Alfredsson scored twice during a three-goal third, helping the Senators tie it 3-3. Alfredsson (1:57 remaining) and Wade Redden (1:21) completed the comeback scoring 36 seconds apart late in the period.
“I think we tried hard all game long, worked it pretty good, tried to create chances,” Alfredsson said. “It’s obviously very nice to see that we got rewarded. We would have loved to have won it in the shootout, but we’re happy with getting a point.”
The Senators are on a seven-game winless streak for the first time since Feb. 22-March 9, 1996. Ottawa has a two-point lead over Carolina for first in the Eastern Conference.
Mathieu Darche, Chris Gratton and Filip Kuba scored for the Lightning. Tampa Bay has won two consecutive games following a six-game losing skid.
“I’m not talking any negatives,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “We won a big hockey game against a pretty good hockey team. Mistakes were made. They will be addressed.”
Alfredsson’s power-play goal at 7:05 of the third pulled Ottawa within 2-1. Tampa Bay got the goal back just over two minutes later when Kuba scored at 9:08.
Ottawa’s Ray Emery made 25 saves, including an in-close chance by Martin St. Louis in overtime. He finished with 25 saves.
In the first period, Dany Heatley failed to score on a breakaway, Brian McGrattan couldn’t handle a pass through the slot that could have resulted in a goal and Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist made a glove save on Jason Spezza’s shot from the low left circle. Holmqvist had 26 saves.
Meanwhile, Redden played a key role in the Lightning’s two goals during the first. His defensive zone pass into the slot was intercepted by Jan Hlavac, who then found Darche alone in close for a 1-0 lead at 3:43.
Just as Redden completed a two-minute holding penalty, Gratton scored his first goal in 21 games from the low slot off a pass from St. Louis to put Tampa Bay up 2-0 with 8:26 left in the period.
Ottawa’s woes continued in the second. Chris Kelly lost possession of the puck while making a stick-handling move during a 2-on-1 midway through the period. The Senators caught a break when Tampa Bay was penalized for having too many men on the ice at 13:21, but Ottawa took just one shot during the power-play opportunity.
“It’s pro sports and winning is the only thing that matters, but we’re in kind of a slump,” Alfredsson said. “As a team, when you see everybody working and you see everybody really pulling together, that’s a good sign. That’s a sign of better things to come, I believe.”
Notes: Darche has a goal in three straight games. The veteran minor leaguer has five goals in 48 career NHL games. … Spezza and Heatley both extended point streaks to eight games.