OTTAWA - The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost back-to-back games in regulation just three times so far this season, and they certainly didn't want to make it a fourth Sunday in Ottawa.
Tyler Johnson had two goals and Nikita Kucherov had two assists Sunday to lead the Lightning to a 4-2 win over the Senators for their first win of 2015 following a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh Jan. 2.
The Lightning took a 3-2 lead into the third period and increased that to 4-2 at the 7:58 mark on Johnson's second goal of the game, just three seconds after Chris Phillips emerged from the penalty box to put an end to the Lightning power play.
Johnson took a pass from Kucherov that everyone else thought was going to be a shot, and left Johnson with a wide open net to shoot at.
"If it hadn't of hit my stick I don't think I would have got it," Johnson said of the pass.
"It's fun playing with him and it's amazing the things he can do and he gave me two easy goals for sure."
The Senators played out the game shorthanded as their captain Erik Karlsson took a double minor in the dying minutes for hooking and then unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Lightning (25-12-4) also got goals from Victor Hedman, who also had an assist, and Steven Stamkos. Ben Bishop made 20 saves and improved to 6-0-2 against his former team.
Ottawa (16-15-7) got a goal and an assist from Kyle Turris, along with another goal from Mark Stone, but saw their two-game winning streak come to an end. Robin Lehner made 26 saves.
The Senators would have been hard pressed to get a better start than they did Sunday when Turris scored just 32 seconds into the first period.
Clarke MacArthur was carrying the puck around the Tampa goal and reversed it back to Turris at the side of the goal. Turris then beat Bishop with a quick shot over the left shoulder just inside the far post.
"It was a little unfortunate that we got behind but I thought the guys played really well in the second period," Johnson said.
That would account for the only scoring of the first period but the teams combined for four goals in the second— three of which came from the Lightning.
"It was tough. We fell apart a bit in the second period and you can't do that against a team like that. We let up for a bit and they made us pay," Senators defenceman Cody Ceci said.
"We sat back and you can't do that against a skilled team and they made us pay. We definitely didn't play our strongest."
Hedman got the Lightning on the board and tied the game 1-1 at 3:48 with a shot from the slot as all five Senators on the ice were scattered around Lehner.
A little under four minutes later the Senators took their second lead of the game when Stone scored just four seconds following the conclusion of a power play.
Stone's shot from the inside the circle beat Bishop just inside the post at 7:30 following a setup from Turris.
The Lightning then turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead in a span of 47 seconds before the end of the period.
"We scored at the end of the power play and I thought it gave us a little bit of an emotional lift and I thought we were alright," Senators coach Dave Cameron said.
"Then they counter with two quick goals and any time time you give up a goal you go back on your heels a little bit, and when you give up two that quick it hurts."
Johnson tied the game on the power play at 16:08 when he took a cross-ice pass from Kucherov and beat Lehner with a quick shot. Senators defenceman Eric Gryba's failure to clear the puck out of the zone allowed the Lightning to maintain pressure and eventually score.
Then Stamkos did what he does best and scored to give the Lightning their first lead of the game. Stamkos gained control of the puck in the Ottawa end, circled behind the net and cut back in front before sliding the puck between the post and the outstretched glove of a fallen Lehner.
"Things haven't been going great lately. I was just trying to work hard and on that one I got the puck on the side wall and tried to make a play. I used my speed and used my strength to take it to the net and it was good to see that one go in," Stamkos said.
"I thought we had a pretty solid game. You don't to give one up on the first shift, but after that I thought we got a great response sticking with the game plan and take what they gave us."
The Lightning will conclude their four-game road trip when the visit the Canadiens in Montreal Tuesday.
The Senators meanwhile, will take on the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday as they open a four-game road trip.
Notes- Defencemen Marc Methot and Chris Wideman were scratches for the Senators Sunday while defencemen Radko Gudas and Mark Barberio along with forward J.T. Brown were scratches for the Lightning…Senators forwards Clarke MacArthur has recorded at least one point in his last four games…Tyler Johnson not only leads the Lightning in points with 43, he also leads the NHL in even-strength points with 36…Prior to Sunday's games, Johnson also led the league with a plus-26 while teammate Nikita Kucherov was second with a plus-25.