Just like that, they’re back in it.
The torrid Tampa Bay Lightning won again Monday night, beating the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in overtime to tie – momentarily, at least – the New York Islanders for the last wild-card slot with 77 points.
Victor Hedman scored the winning goal for the Bolts, taking a perfect pass from Ondrej Palat and scoring with 55 seconds left in the overtime. Brayden Point had scored the first goal for Tampa Bay.
Andrei Vasilevski continued his solid play in net, stopping 32 of 33 shots. Vasilveskiy is 5-0-1 in his last six games.
The Bolts have now picked up at least a point in 15 of its last 17 games.
“To be perfectly honest, we haven’t been looking ahead, it’s just, ‘Who are we playing tonight?’” coach Jon Cooper said. “Now we can sit here and say clearly the Toronto game’s a big game for us. Last night was the Rangers, tonight it was Ottawa. Those boys, man are they battling hard. It’s been a lot of fun to be behind the bench with these guys. It was a lot of fun. That was a heck of a hockey game by the way. I don’t know if you guys saw the same thing, but oh man was it fast.”
The Bolts come home Thursday night for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“The last time we played them – we haven’t played them in a while — I think we took the penalty in overtime and they scored,” Cooper said. “Does it add a little bit because it’s the Leafs and the position we’re in? It should be a fun time Thursday night. But there’s still a lot of hockey left to play. Just because it’s the Leafs and we’re battling them, we’ve just got to keep getting points, regardless who it’s against. These two are going to be just as big as the two against Toronto and the two we’ve got to play Washington on Saturday. We’ve just got to keep playing the way we are.”