Namestnikov Has 2 Goals in Senators’ 4-2 Victory over Lightning

OTTAWA — Vladislav Namestnikov scored his first two goals for his new team late in the third as the Senators topped the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Saturday for Ottawa’s first win of the season.

Colin White and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored as the Senators (1-3-0) stopped their franchise-worst start to a season.

Ottawa got 19 saves from Craig Anderson, who returned to the crease after watching his team let in six goals in Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.

Ondrej Palat and Luke Witkowski replied for Tampa Bay (2-2-1), while Curtis McElhinney stopped 30 shots in net.

Namestnikov was drafted by the Lightning in 2011 and had notched only an assist in his Senators debut on Thursday after he was traded from the New York Rangers to Ottawa on Monday.

Vladislav Namestnikov New York Rangers
Former New York Ranger Vladislav Namestnikov (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

On Saturday, he scored at 16:57 in the third and added an empty-netter with just seconds remaining.

The Senators outshot the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners 34-21. Tampa Bay looked sluggish at times Saturday after its seven-goal outburst against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

It was the third-straight game the Senators faced a back-up goalie, as McElhinney got the call for the Lightning instead of Andrei Vasilevskiy, last season’s Vezina Trophy winner.

The line of Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov — who combined for five goals and 11 points in the Lightning’s game against Toronto — were held scoreless by Ottawa.

Mark Borowiecki nearly broke it open early for the Senators, hitting the crossbar less than a minute into the game.

It was a sign of things to come in the opening frame as Ottawa out-shot the Lightning 12-5.

But the Senators — who came into the game last in the league on the power play — couldn’t capitalize on any of their opportunities, including going 0 for 2 with the man advantage.

Tampa Bay served two avoidable penalties early in the second, as the Lightning got dinged for having too many men on the ice and then Erik Cernak was booked for playing the puck with his hands.

Erik Cernak, Tampa Bay Lightning
Erik Cernak, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Senators couldn’t convert on the 5-on-3 or with the man advantage, continuing their scoreless streak on the power play.

But after Brady Tkachuk poked a bouncing puck across to Bobby Ryan as he fell to the ice, Ryan found a wide-open White who ripped a wrist shot over McElhinney’s glove. White recorded his first goal of the season at 13:44 of the second.

The Ottawa faithful barely had enough time to sit down after they celebrated White’s goal as Palat notched his third of the season for the Lightning just 33 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1.

With 27 seconds left in the frame Pageau scored his first goal of the season after chipping in a bouncing puck under the glove of Anderson.

Defenceman Nikita Zaitsev was key on the defensive side, neutralizing Kucherov and made an important stop early in the third to preserve the Senators’ one-goal lead.

But Witkowski’s wrist shot from the left circle tied the game at 2-2. His first goal of the season came at 8:56 in the third.

It looked like the Lightning took a 3-2 lead just past the mid-way point of the third, but after a Tkachuk penalty at 11:50 made it 4-on-4, a Kucherov goal was called back.


Senators forward Artem Anisimov did not return for the third period with a lower body injury… Ottawa concludes a four-game homestand Monday against the Minnesota Wild. Tampa Bay is in action next against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Adam Stanley, The Canadian Press