OTTAWA - As Jason Spezza steamed in uncovered towards Dwayne Roloson you knew that the overtime that shouldn't of even been played in the first place was about to come to an embarrassing end. Despite fanning on the shot and only getting off a weak dribbler, Spezza would put the finishing touches on a dramatic comeback for the Ottawa Senators, pushing a slow bouncing puck past flailing goaltender Dwayne Roloson and sending the Tampa Bay Lightning home with yet another disappointing March defeat.
Despite being down 2-0 with 7 and a half minutes left in the third period, the Ottawa Senators, the last place team in the Eastern Conference, found a way to score two goals in the last half of the final frame forcing overtime and eventually knocking off the Bolts 3-2 for the second time in 8 days.
The Lightning appeared to have the game well in hand, completely dominating the first 40 minutes of play. Vincent Levacalier scored his 19th goal of the year on a breakaway early in the first, receiving a beautiful feed from Nate Thompsen and speeding in on Ottawa goalie Curtis McElhinney before wristing the shot stick side for a 1-0 Lightning lead. The play was vintage Lecavalier, showing off the speed and quick wrists that made him on of the NHL's elite for many years.
Ottawa would not get a shot on goal until 15:42 in the first period, as the Bolts carried the play for the whole frame and into the second period where Dana Tyrell would extend the lead with his sixth of the year after the Bolts again flashed some speed. Tyrell burst through the Ottawa zone, taking the puck on net. After initially being stopped by McElhinney, Ottawa defenseman Filip Kuba would accidentally knock the puck into the net as he attempted to clear it from the crease.
The Senators would storm back in the third period, however. In the middle of a sluggish, and sloppy Tampa Bay powerplay Ottawa wing Ryan Shannon would get a long pass and storm in on Roloson, getting him to dive with a brilliant juke and then flipping a backhand into the open net for the Senators first goal of the game. The Bolts have given up two shorthanded goals in consecutive games, and a whopping 13 on the season. Less than four minutes later, Nick Foligno would tip in the tying goal after a furious Ottawa shift, forcing overtime and setting up Spezza's game winner.
Dwayne Roloson finished 34 saves, allowing three goals, including the game winner that he will certainly want back. McElhinney made 37 saves for the Senators. The Bolts went 0-3 on the powerplay, as well as giving up another shorthanded goal, and sloppy play in the final 10 minutes of the game led to the eventual demise.
The loss is going to be a difficult one for the Lightning to swallow as they had the game well under control. The point they gain in the standings will be of little consolation as they missed on repeated chances to come home to Tampa with two points and a 2-2 road trip. Instead, the Lightning have now lost five of their last sixth, and sit five points out of the Southeastern Division leaders the Washington Capitals following the 1-3 roadtrip. The Bolts will now head home and take on the New York Islanders Tuesday at the St. Petersburg Times Forum.