The Tampa Bay Lightning (12-6-1) faced the Nashville Predators (7-7-3) in the first of two meetings this season. The Lightning came in on a four-game winning streak and hoped to close out their five-game road trip with a perfect exclamation mark. The Predators looked to continue their success at home and improve to 6-1-0 in Music City. The puck was dropped and here is how it went down:
First Period: The burnt biscuit hit the ice and game number twenty for the Lightning was under way in Nashville. Having faced each other on a limited basis, Tampa Bay and Nashville took the first few minutes to feel one another out. That would soon come to an end as the Predators decided to score early. Nashville winger Viktor Arvidsson (6G, 5A) found garbage in front of Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop (7-5, 2.77 GAA, .909 SV%) and chipped it into the net 4:25 into the first. With the opening goal under their belt, something the Predators have struggled with recently, they pushed the Lightning back on their heels and commanded play for the majority of the period. Tampa Bay went into the locker room frustrated with their start and determined to find an answer against the Nashville attack.
Second Period: Down 1-0 heading into the second, the Lightning emerged with intensity to their play; eager to change where the game was veering. They created promising scoring chances, but Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne (6-5-3, 2.12 GAA, .931 SV%) stood tall and kept them from tying it up. Unable to cash in on their efforts, the Lightning would be rendered shorthanded as Brayden Point (2G, 5A) was whistled for tripping at 8:19. This mistake would be costly halfway through the man advantage as a horror from their past, Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban (3G, 8A), ripped his patented high wind-up slap shot from the point and beat Bishop under the legs to go up 2-0 at 9:55. The bleeding continued when Alex Killorn received a hooking call just 28 seconds after the goal which paved the way for another Subban power play score at 12:35. In the blink of an eye, Tampa Bay found themselves down 3-0 and still unable to solve Rinne as time expired in the second.
Third Period: The Lightning came out to start the third with a mountain to climb down 3-0 and lacking any legitimate momentum. The first half of the third consisted of Tampa Bay attempting to formulate some kind of an offense, but Nashville soundly smothered anything they could come up with. The grind of a five-game road trip had caught up to the Lightning. They would get a gleam of light at 7:54 with Arvidsson called for cross-checking. It would be short-lived as the clouds closed up and Victor Hedman (3G, 10A) was called for interference 27 seconds into the Lightning’s first power play of the game. Nothing would come from the penalties or another Tampa Bay power play a little under six minutes later. The game ticked away and it began to grow quite ugly. Several big hits were thrown and cheap shots taken. With Bishop pulled, Tampa Bay forward Tyler Johnson (7G, 5A) would besmirch Rinne’s shutout bid with 50 seconds left in the game and score the Lightning’s lone goal. The game ended in a 3-1 Lightning defeat, and Tampa Bay left the ice having secured eight out of ten points on their five-game trip while plotting revenge for when they face the Predators again later in the season.
Three Stars of The Game:
- Pekka Rinne, 23 saves, 1 goal allowed
- P.K. Subban, 2 power play goals
- Tyler Johnson, TB’s lone goal
Next up: Tampa Bay Lightning (12-7-1) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-3) on Wednesday night at 7:30pm in Tampa.