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Bolts rally late for gutsy OT win in Nashville

The Nashville Predators have arguably the best home-ice advantage in hockey and play in the Central Division, arguably considered the best division in hockey. But the Tampa Bay Lightning are a dominant 10-1-0 against Central Division teams and match up very well against the Predators.

This game was fast-paced from beginning to end and felt very much like a playoff match. Both teams believe they have what it takes to win it all this year. The Bolts got off to a quick start with a goal from Chris Kunitz, who for the second time in two nights scored the first goal of the game. However, Nashville quickly responded with two goals. The first period ended up tied 2-2 after a well-timed goal from Vladislav Namestnikov. Before that goal, Nashville heavily built the momentum in their favor, but the Lightning’s equalizer tilted it back in their favor heading to the locker room.

The Lightning picked up right where they left off in the second period. The Bolts had several chances, recording the first six shots of the period but came up just short. Both teams displayed a ferocious effort, as Nashville goalie Juuse Saros and Lightning netminder Louis Domingue each came up with big saves.

Unfortunately for the Lightning, controversy reared its head late in the second period.

With under a minute on the clock, PK Subban put Nashville up 3-2 with a power play goal. Replay showed what appeared to be goalie interference. However, the officials took a second look at the goal and allowed it stand after video review. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was visibly frustrated by the call during the game and had something to say afterwards, saying that, “(He) thought it was 100% goalie interference.”

Despite the disappointing decision on the video review, Tampa Bay refused to let that get them down.

With 2:12 remaining in regulation, Steven Stamkos hit a one-timer that beat Saros from the left circle, tying the game 3-3. It was a beautiful heads up play by Slater Koekkoek on the primary assist, as Stamkos ended a nine-game goal drought.

With one point under their belt heading into overtime, Yanni Gourde stepped up and ended this one.

Gourde and Namestnikov forechecked ferociously, forcing a turnover that ended up on Namestnikov’s stick. Namestnikov fed it back to Gourde, who hit the back of the net 1:45 into OT for the game-winner, giving the Lightning a 4-3 win. For the second night in a row, Gourde scored a goal, giving him 16 goals this season. His rookie season has been very impressive with 16 goals so far. Domingue finished with 30 saves and the Lightning earned their first victory in Nashville since February 2008.

Our Three Stars of the Game

1st Star: Yanni Gourde – Game-winning OT goal, the second such goal of his career.

2nd Star: Louis Domingue – Gave Andrei Vasilevskiy the night off and made 30 saves in the win.

3rd Star: Chris Kunitz – Scored one goal and added two assists.

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