The Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Nashville Predators for the 2nd time in 3 days. Both teams looking to play Better than their previous meeting that saw Tampa win 4-3. The Lightning need to play a full 60 minute effort and have some help on defense so Andrei Vasilevski who will make his 7th Start this season against Juues Saros. Nashville will look to stay out the penalty box as they gave up 7 penalties resulting in two power play goals.
Both teams started the game with an excellent penalty kill. Tampa killing off an interference penalty to Erik Cernak who is back in the lineup after missing 2 games with an injury. And Nashville killing off a minor on Tinordi for holding Brayden Point. For the 3rd time this season and for the second consecutive game Ondrij Palat opened the scoring. Palat was able to collect the puck after Nashville Captain Roman Josi broke up a cross ice feed and put it by Saros giving the Bolts the lead 10:47 into the 1st period. Josi was called for tripping Palat less than two minutes later giving Tampa another go on the Man advantage. This time they made Nashville pay. Yanni Gourde scored a power play goal off an excellent feed in the crease from Tyler Johnson. 2-0 bolts. After chances on both ends in the dying minutes of the 1st period, Brayden Point delivers again, beating the buzzer off a sizzling shot on a brilliant give and go play with Matthieu Joseph. A passing sequence that would put the Harlem Globetrotters to shame. After a Review in Toronto the puck crossed the line with .4 seconds remaining giving Tampa a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission
Nashville continued to take undisciplined penalties. Giving up 4 power plays over the first two periods. Despite peppering Vasilevski with Shots the bolts back end remained dominant. Stopping all attempts to try and get one in the net. Tampa Bay’s defense showed up to the game and made things a little easier for Vasilevski this time around after he bailed out the team during Saturday’s tilt. Steven Stamkos stays absolutely red hot scoring his 4th Goal of the season. Threading a Wrister from just above the Faceoff dot off the post and in. to make it 4-0 scoring his 301st career powerplay point giving him the All time Franchise lead in Power play points. Stamkos Stays absolutely red hot.
But a big lead in hockey can sometimes be worse than trailing. Tampa found their lead cut in half after goals from Eeli Tolvanen and Mikael Grandlund to make it a two goal game in quick Fashion Once again Nashville had crawled back into a game they were trailing by 4 goals heading into the final frame. Brayden Point was denied by Saros on a one timer to start swing the scoring back in the Lightning’s momentum. The bolts put on excellent two way shifts in the last 10 minutes of the game. Marooning the Predators in their own zone and peppering them with shots. Despite the two goal slip Tampa continued their dominance over a struggling Predators team. Yanni Gourde Sealed the victory with his second goal of the night. A 5-2 victory for the home team.
The Bolts Played a much better game despite a similar score. The Lightning played a complete game, and continue to look absolutely lethal. Vasilevski played excellent once again. After 7 straight starts it’s possible we could see Curtis Mchelleny make his first start after getting off the Covid-19 reserve list. Tampa doesn’t look like they’ve missed a step since winning the Stanley Cup. Tampa got some much needed aid on the backend with the Return of Erik Cernak a right shooting defenseman the Lightning are low in supply on. The future looks bright as the Bolts keep rolling. Reclaiming their familiar spot atop the division