The Ottawa Senators figured they were in for an easy day after they built a four-goal lead in the first period over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Senators managed to hang on for a 5-3 win on Saturday, but it wasn't as smooth as they expected.
Jakob Silfverberg, Eric Gryba, Guillaume Latendresse and Daniel Alfredsson scored in a 7:01 span in the first period. However, the Senators didn't secure this victory until Alfredsson scored into an empty net in the final minute.
Robin Lehner made 29 saves, and Marc Methot, who missed the previous game because of a knee injury, and Kyle Turris each had two assists.
Some lackadaisical play by the Senators gave Tampa Bay hope, and the Lightning took full advantage. They stormed back late before coming up just short.
"Any time you're up 4-0 after the first period the test becomes to see if you can continue to play," Senators coach Paul Maclean said. "I was pleased with how we came out and started the game but as the game wore on it became harder and harder for us to stay playing.
"That's focus and that's intensity. We did enough to stop the momentum from (the Lightning) coming all the way back."
Tyler Johnson scored twice in the third period for Tampa Bay, and Teddy Purcell made it 4-3 with 1:59 left.
The Lightning just couldn't finish the comeback.
"There was something different, and we're going to look at it (Sunday), but we didn't play as well as we should," Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar said of the third period. "But the most important thing this time of the year is that we're getting points as a team."
Mathieu Garon was yanked from the Tampa Bay net in the first period after allowing three goals on the first 11 shots. Cedrick Desjardins was strong in relief, making 19 saves.
"The rest of the game we played good. We outplayed the other team, outchanced them," Boucher said. "We did a lot of good things out there, but the mental mistakes cost us. We played 50 great minutes, and that's how we have to play. We can't allow those mental mistakes to happen."
The Senators' first-period spree started at 12:49 when Silfverberg tipped home Methot's pass after a giveaway by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman. Gryba made it 2-0 only 1:40 later, scoring his first NHL goal off a feed from Turris.
"It feels good and it feels even better to get a big two points," said Gryba, who played in his 18th NHL game. "You play with skill guys like (Turris), they see the ice so well and are able to put the puck where they want it. It was a great pass, and I was fortunate to get it past the goalie."
Latendresse scored with 2:59 left in the period to chase Garon, and Alfredsson made it 4-0 with 10 seconds left with a goal on a power play.
Lehner, who was aided by two shots off the post that stayed out, stopped Dana Tyrell on a second-period breakaway as Ottawa started to sit back and allow the Lightning time and space.
Johnson tipped a shot past Lehner at 11:37 of the third and added his second at 13:53.
Purcell's goal that made it 4-3 raised the tension at Scotiabank Place, but with Desjardins on the bench for an extra skater, Alfredsson scored into the empty net.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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