DeBrincat, Tkachuk each score twice as Sens crush Lightning
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Alex DeBrincat and Brady Tkachuk each scored two goals and the Ottawa Senators cruised to a 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
DeBrincat added an assist, and Derick Brassard, Erik Brannstrom and Austin Watson also scored for Ottawa, which earned its first 35-win season since 2015-16. Mads Sogaard made 27 saves.
“It’s nice to get a definitive win for this group,” DeBrincat said. “I thought we played pretty good from start to finish.”
The Senators were struggling lately, going 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and seeing their postseason chances dwindle.
“It’s big for us,” Ottawa defenseman Thomas Chabot said. “Obviously, we’ve felt like we’ve been playing some good hockey lately, but obviously not getting the results we wanted. ... But it just shows that when we stick to what we do and how we play, we have a lot of success and it (showed) tonight.
"The way we played tonight is exactly how we need to play the rest of the way.”
Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev scored and Brian Elliott stopped 28 shots for the Lightning, who are on a three-game losing streak and have been outscored 15-6 during that stretch.
“We’re having a bit of a bit of a tough stretch here, but it’s all self-inflicted,” coach John Cooper said. “I’m just not sure when they’re going to learn, but they’re learning tough lessons.”
Sergachev made it a 3-2 game for Tampa Bay 4:10 into the third period with a power-play goal, giving the Lightning a chance.
But less than two minutes later, Brannstrom had a beautiful end-to-end rush that culminated with a shot into the top corner to make it 4-2.
Things went downhill from that point for the Lightning. Tkachuk padded the Senators’ lead with a power-play goal at 13:11 and added an empty-net goal 24 seconds later.
Watson closed the scoring at 14:39 when he spun around and had his shot beat Elliott.
“I think we’re feeling sorry for ourselves a tiny bit,” Cooper said of his team. “Because they know better. That’s what makes it tough is because they know they’re making these mistakes.”
DeBrincat gave Ottawa a 2-0 lead by scoring 8:53 into the first period and again just under three minutes later.
NOTES: Senators F Tim Stutzle had one assist, giving him 115 points through his first 200 NHL games. ... Ottawa came to terms with D Tyler Kleven on a three-year entry-level contract Thursday. Kleven recently completed his junior year with the University of North Dakota, where he had eight goals and 10 assists through 35 games. ... Nick Holden and Julien Gauthier were healthy scratches for the Senators.
Lightning: Face the NHL-leading Bruins in Boston on Saturday.
Senators: Take on the Devils in New Jersey on Saturday night.
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