Senators can’t bottle Lightning in Tampa

With Ben Bishop in net, the bubble burst for the Ottawa Senators Friday.

TAMPA, Fla. — With Ben Bishop in net, the bubble burst for the Ottawa Senators Friday.

The Senators couldn’t hold on to a pair of two-goal leads, ultimately losing 6-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning and putting an end to their early-season winning streak.

Ryan Malone finished off the Senators, scoring both the tying and winning goals in the third period. Tom Pyatt provided the insurance, scoring into an empty net in the final minute.

The Senators arrived in Tampa with a perfect 3-0 record, a stretch in which No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson had allowed only two goals.

Friday’s game was a different experience altogether.

It may have been a goaltending Clash of the Titans — the Senators’ 6-foot-7 Bishop against the Lightning’s 6-foot-6 Anders Lindback in a matchup of the tallest netminders in NHL history — but saves took a back seat to goals in the wild final few minutes of the second period.

After Erik Condra scored on a breakaway to tie the game 1-1 early in the second period, the game appeared to be setting up for a tight-checking defensive finish.

Guess again.

First, Jason Spezza scored on a 4-on-3 power play. Then Erik Karlsson scored from the blueline on a shot which tipped off the stick of Tampa defenceman Victor Hedman. Only 30 seconds after Spezza’s goal, Steven Stamkos cashed in on a rebound in front of Bishop.

Kyle Turris restored the Senators’ two-goal lead — his fourth goal of the season — on a pretty passing play involving Kaspars Daugavins and Daniel Alfredsson, but that margin didn’t last long. Hedman completed the second period scoring, blasting a slapshot through a screen and past Bishop.

When the buzzer finally sounded at the end of the second period, the Senators were ahead 4-3.

The offensive fireworks were wacky and unexpected, but the Senators deserve credit for working their way back into a game where they started slowly.

They fell behind only 1:09 into the game on a Lightning power play.

Bishop, playing his first game of the season, had a rough start. He couldn’t find the puck in the crease, allowing the Lightning to whack away until Matt Carle jumped in from the blueline and lifted the puck into the net.

It took a while for the Senators, who defeated the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Thursday, to find their legs. They didn’t help themselves by taking four minor penalties in the first period.

Yet they started the second period with some jump and began taking the play to the Lightning. Condra tied the game 1-1, sneaking behind the Lightning defence and taking a pass from Chris Neil.

GAME FILE

CHEERS

Ryan Malone, Lightning: Tampa’s veteran power forward tied the game 4-4 early in the third period and then scored the game winner, with 7:02 left, jumping on a loose puck in the slot following a deflection. Malone now has three goals this season

JEERS

Ben Bishop, Senators: There were some unlucky bounces along the way, but he had some shaky moments in his season debut, allowing five goals. With Robin Lehner pitching a shutout in his return to Binghamton of the AHL Friday, Bishop is going to be feeling some heat.

WHY THEY LOST

The Senators held 3-1 and 4-2 leads late in the second period, but couldn’t shut the door on the Lightning. Perhaps they were out of gas after playing in Florida Thursday, but every team has a healthy share of back-to-back games in the tightly-compressed 48-game season.

LAST SHOT WINS?

In a span of 3:40 late in the second period, the teams exchanged five goals – three from the Senators, two from the Lightning – turning a 1-1 defensive struggle into a 4-3 game and a wild shootout.

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