Senators lose more than game in Tampa

Tampa Bay Lightning's Teddy Purcell scores the shootout-winning goal past Ottawa Senators' Brian...

Tampa Bay Lightning's Teddy Purcell scores the shootout-winning goal past Ottawa Senators' Brian Elliott. (REUTERS/Mike Carlson)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:39 PM ET

TAMPA — A meaningless game could come back to haunt the Senators once the playoffs begin.

Hoping to escape unscathed on their final regular-season road trip, the Senators could be forced to start the post-season without winger Alex Kovalev, who limped off the ice with a left leg injury in the second period of Thursday night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Lightning.

Kovalev had to be helped off the ice and couldn’t put any weight on his leg after being hit by Tampa’s Todd Fedoruk at 12:11 of the period.

It didn’t look good.

Coach Cory Clouston had no update on Kovalev after the game.

“We won’t know until (Friday), but I don’t want to speculate. I’d be guessing,” said Clouston.

The Senators fought their way back from a 3-0 deficit, thanks to goals from Mike Fisher, Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno, to earn a point in a physical, sometimes nasty game.

Senators goalie Brian Elliott turned aside 26 shots, but was beaten by Teddy Purcell for the only goal in the shootout. Fisher, Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson couldn’t beat Mike Smith in the shootout.

The game turned ugly midway through the second with the Bolts holding a 3-0 lead. Smith went ballistic and dropped his gloves when Chris Neil tripped him in the corner. Tampa blueliner Mathias Ohlund jumped Neil after some punches were thrown and Neil and Smith wound up with double minors.

Neil said it was unfortunate Ohlund jumped in.

“I’m trying to avoid (Smith). He more falls than anything. I didn’t make contact with him,” said Neil. “It’s a hit-or-miss type of thing. He gets up and starts throwing punches. I wish Ohlund would have let us go. It would have been pretty good.

“If (a goalie is) going to throw punches, they should be free game. You shouldn’t have a guy grabbing me from behind.”

Fisher dropped the gloves with blueliner Victor Hedman. The Senators also received a four-minute power play at 7:40 when pest Jarkko Ruutu was sucker-punched by Fedoruk.

“When we decided we wanted to get involved, we turned it around and we played like two different teams out there,” said Fisher. “We played the second half pretty well. We felt it coming. We had so many power plays and we knew if we kept playing that way it was just going to be a matter of time before we tied it.”

Ottawa tough guy Matt Carkner dropped the gloves with Fedoruk with only 2:36 left in the second.

After missing a chance to pull within striking distance on a 5-on-3 for a span of 1:51, Foligno finally got the club on the board with his first goal since Jan. 28. He broke a 12-game slump by taking pass down low and beating Smith on the glove side at 12:44 to cut the lead to 3-1.

Elliott, given a rest in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Panthers, didn’t get much help early on as Tampa pulled out to a 3-0 lead by 3:33 of the second period.

Steven Stamkos, with 48th goal of the season, Purcell and Martin St. Louis scored for the Bolts.

There was a frightening incident in the second period when former Ottawa defenceman Andrej Meszaros took a slap shot from Erik Karlsson in the neck, collapsed behind the Tampa bench and needed medical attention.

After the scare, Meszaros returned for the third period.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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