The Tampa Bay Lightning hosted the Nashville Predators in the first of a two game set. The hero from Thursday night’s loss to Carolina, Andrei Vasilevski makes his 6th straight start. Veteran netminder Pekka Rinne gets the start for the Predators. Nashville rolls into Thunder Bay trying to stay above .500 in the standings. Tampa looks to regain their scoring touch after being blanked by the canes.
The Lightning played undisciplined in the first period, taking a slew of penalties and allowed another power play goal. Having to fight off a 5 on 3 and a grand total of three powerplays in just the first 20 minutes. Ryan Ellis lit the lamp for Nashville off a feed from Nick Cousins 8 seconds into the power play for his first of the season. Tampa Squandered two power plays of their own. The struggles on the power play spilling over from Thursday’s game.
Tyler Johnson found the remedy for the Powerplay. In the dying seconds of a power play buried the equalizer from a tight spot. Victor Hedman unloaded some massive hits throughout the period. Cal Foote Tampa’s 1st round draft pick from 2019 scored his first career NHL goal. Foote who is in for the injured Erik Cernak who is missing another game with a day to day injury, found the back of the net, was set up by Sergachev for the rookie to blow a one timer past Rinne from the point to go ahead 2-1 at 13:19 of the middle frame. Victor Hedman continued the onslaught of goals blasting home a laser to extend the lead. The bolts were grooving, set into a rhythm. The adjustments made at the intermission working very well. Steven Stamkos joined the party scoring a power play goal from his office in vintage style to make the lead 3. Pat Maroon and Nashville defenseman Mark Borowiecki dropped the gloves in a heavy weight bout further igniting the Storm the Lightning were putting on. Nashville picked up 9 penalty minutes in the final 3 minutes of the second. And the Bolts were making them pay. Tampa absolutely dominated the middle frame & took a commanding 4-1 lead into the final period.
After some scoring chances on both sides Barclay Goodrow took a costly high sticking penalty. Despite an excellent penalty kill, Nashville cut the lead on half 4-2 off a soft goal by Matthieu Oliver who scored his first Career NHL goal on a big rebound in front of Vasilevskiy. The Predators were showing signs of life. The big cat stayed hot after allowing a shaky goal by making a marvelous save on a Filip Forsberg scoring chances. The Predators poured on the pressure late challenging Tampa physically and in chances. Nashville’s momentum was disrupted by the teams 7th man advantage penalty of the night. Stamkos had a bomb ring off the crossbar. Ryan McDonagh rang another shot off the post during the same power play. Nashville escaped the power play but down a vital two minutes late in the game and their momentum disrupted by a excellent power play from the Lightning. Victor Arvidsson Tallied for the Predators to pull within a goal with 1:34 left in regulation. Vasilevskiy Robbed Matt Duchene on the doorstep. The Lightning hang on through a last minute barrage from the Predators including hitting a shot off the post. By the skin of their teeth the Bolts won their 4th game of the season.
Tampa was propelled by their dominant 4 unanswered goal 2nd period, Vasilevski’s excellent play, and Nashville’s penalty woes. The boys in black seemed to recapture the lethal scoring touch that’s been missing the last two games. Stamkos looks the healthiest he’s been in a long time. Tampa played a sluggish first period, a dominant middle frame and hung on in the third hanging in for the win. At this point in the season Andrei Vasilevski has established himself as the teams MVP, starting every game so far and playing very well in all the games minus the 5-2 loss to Columbus. The Bolts need to play a full 60 minutes. Six games in this Tampa team looks excellent as they continue to battle through this unique of hockey seasons. The Lightning host Nashville again on Monday. The Detroit Red Wings come to Thunder Bay on Wednesday and Friday where the Bolts conclude the four game homestand.