So close, and yet so far. Despite losing their top goalie (Mathieu Garon) early in the first period to an injury, the Tampa Bay Lightning nearly made a game of this one. They fell behind 3-0 through the first period, as Dwayne Roloson let in some garbage goals, but then began to mount a comeback in the second period. They scored two goals within the first half of the period, and finished the second only trailing 4-2. It was still quite the deficit, but one that still left the Bolts with some hope.
And early in the third period, it looked like the Bolts might actually come all the way back. Five minutes in, Steven Stamkos scored his 48th goal of the season, pulling the Bolts to within one. They kept up plenty of pressure on the Senators and nearly tied the game up, but then at 11 minutes in, Stamkos got called for goalie interference and got sent to the box. On replay, it looked like a poor call; Stamkos was shoved toward the net, just brushed Ben Bishop, and didn’t interfere with a play in action. The ref obviously felt like he’d seen otherwise, though, so the Bolts had to kill a penalty.
Of course, though, they couldn’t. The Senators scored on the power play, and from there, proceeded to score two more goals within the final two minutes when the Bolts attempted to make one final comeback.
The Lightning still sit only four points out of a playoff spot, but they didn’t pick up any ground on the Winnipeg Jets. They will need to win on Thursday against the Washington Capitals in order to stay in the race and keep things interesting, as both teams are vying for that final playoff spot.
For more on the Lightning, drop by SB Nation’s blog on the Bolts, Raw Charge.