OTTAWA, Ontario — The Ottawa Senators are playing with confidence and it’s showing.
Ryan Dzingel scored twice and Mark Stone had a goal and two assists to help the Ottawa Senators beat the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 on Saturday night.
Matt Duchene, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored for the Senators, who have won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 13-16.
“We’re starting to come,” Stone said. “It shows character and the ability to stick together as a team.”
Craig Anderson stopped 45 shots as the Senators had the start and finish they wanted — scoring three goals each in the first and third periods — and weathered a difficult second period.
“It’s been a while since we played two games back-to-back the way that we did here,” said captain Erik Karlsson, who had three assists.
“Last game I don’t think we started well and definitely didn’t have a second period that was good enough and neither did we today, but we found a way to hang in there and gave ourselves a chance and it was definitely nice to play the way that we do and help each other out as much as we do. It makes it a lot easier for everybody out there to be themselves and believe in themselves and we’re going to need a lot more of it too.”
Victor Hedman, Slater Koekkoek and Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning, who allowed six goals for the first time this season. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 27 saves.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was far from impressed with his team’s effort.
“You can’t win a Stanley Cup in the regular season, you have to get to the playoffs first,” Cooper said. “I think there is a team in there that thinks we’ve already made the playoffs. With that attitude, we are not going to go anywhere. I feel bad for our goaltender. You can’t spot them a 3-0 lead in this league and expect to come back. Give them a little credit for coming back, but in the end, the same mistakes cost us.
“Give Ottawa credit, they didn’t care who they were playing. They just came out and played a hockey game and they won it. Good on them.”
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first, the Senators allowed the Lightning to tie it in the second. But when Tampa Bay started pressing in the third the Senators managed to hold their own and took back control midway through the period.
Stone picked up a rebound of Derick Brassard’s shot to beat Vasilevskiy at 10:44 to put Ottawa up 4-3.. Pageau and Dzingel scored insurance goals soon after to pull away.
“What we wanted to have in the third period was a push,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. “I thought in the second period we weren’t as physical, and that was part of our game plan and we got back to that in the third period.”
The Senators dominated the first period and took a 3-0 lead, but the second was all about the Lightning as they tied the score.
Hedman made it 3-1 just 26 seconds into the middle period as he pounced on a loose puck and beat Anderson with a wrist shot.
Just over a minute later, Koekkoek took a feed from Nikita Kucherov to score from the circle.
The tying goal came on the power play with Smith in the box for a roughing penalty and Gourde deflected Mikhail Sergachev’s shot to tie with 4:03 left.
Dzingel got the Senators on the scoreboard 4:48 into the game as he took a pass from Stone in the slot and beat Vasilevskiy.
Just over one minute later Duchene jumped on a loose puck and got some help from the post to make it 2-0.
Smith then deflected a shot by Erik Karlsson with 2:56 left to cap the first-period outburst.
NOTES: Three Senators players reached milestones with Bobby Ryan playing his 700th game, Zack Smith his 500th and Mike Hoffman his 300th. … Ottawa scratched D Fredrik Claesson for the second straight game. … F Colin White was recalled from AHL Belleville to replace the injured Nate Thompson, who suffered a lower-body injury Friday night.
Lightning: At Detroit on Sunday night.
Senators: Host Chicago on Tuesday night.