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Predators Face Lightning Strike

Photo: Alex Walworth, The Scrum Sports

Just two years ago, the Nashville Predators and the Tampa Bay Bay Lightning were division rivals in an abbreviated 2020-2021 season. Now, they are in different conferences and back to playing each other just two times per year. The Bolts took the first of the season series with a 3-2 overtime win in Nashville just three weeks ago. Would the Predators return the favor tonight, or would we get another Lightning strike? The Predators are not currently in a playoff position but are always dangerous and come into tonight’s contest with a three-game winning streak on the line. The Lightning are coming off a loss to the Red Wings Tuesday night. Interestingly, both teams’ most recent losses were at the hands of those Red Wings thanks to stellar performances by goaltender Ville Husso. Would either of these teams be able to break through the goaltenders tonight?

But First a Tribute

Before we get into the meat of this game, we want to acknowledge one of the great Lightning players over the last few seasons. Ryan McDonagh. Tonight was to be a special night in Tampa Bay as the Amalie faithful would welcome back the stallwart defenseman who’d been traded to the Predators in the off-season, as the Lightning needed to clear important cap space. Unfortunately, McDonagh was hit in the face with a puck last Friday night and placed on the injury list. Still, he made the trip in with the team and got a nice tribute from the Lightning to thank him for all he brought to the Lightning over the years. Thank you, Ryan McDonagh!

Predators Hit by Early Lightning Streak

Onto the game… On Tuesday evening, it took the Lightning almost 55 minutes to find the back of the net. Tonight, it took just one minute and sixteen seconds. Brayden Point took a beautiful feed from Ian Cole and scored his 12th of the season. Erik Cernak picked up the second assist.

Just over a minute and a half later, the Bolts would double that lead. The Predators were called for a bench minor for too many men on the ice. The Lightning were quick to capitalize as Corey Perry tipped in his 4th of the season from Stamkos and Hedman.


Predators Strike Back

As the midpoint of the opening frame approached, the Lightning got another power play. They hoped to put the Predators into a deep hole early. But, instead, an all-too-familiar trend for the Bolts this season reared its ugly head once again. The short-handed goal. This time, it was Mark Jankowski who put it in for his 3rd of the season. The Lightning lead the league in short-handed goals given up this season, and have already given up more than they did all last season.

The Lightning dominated the first period, outshooting the Predators 11-4. But the roles would reverse in the second. The Predators came out firing in the second and it felt like just a matter of time before they would get rewarded for their efforts. At 12:36, Alexandre Carrier wristed his 1st of the season past goalie Brian Elliott to tie the game at 2. When all was said and done for the second frame, the Predators outshot the Bolts 15-8. The teams went to the dressing room evenly matched, each with 2 goals and 19 shots through 40 minutes.

Another Lightning Strike

The 2 teams were evenly matched through two periods. So who would take control in the third? We didn’t have to wait too long for that answer as 2:14 into the frame, Brayden Point notched his 2nd of the game and 13th of the season from Cirelli and Kucherov to give the Bolts a 3-2 lead. Just under 5 minutes later, we would get another Lightning strike, as Nick Paul fired a shot past Saros after a bad line change by the Predators.

Going into tonight’s matchup, there were just 2 teams in the league without a short-handed goal. The Predators and the Lightning. Nashville got their first of the season back in the first period. That left just the Bolts. And with a final Lightning strike at the 15:40 mark, the Bolts obliterated that statistic. Hedman took a tripping penalty and Brandon Hagel went in on a breakaway for his 8th of the season and a 5-2 lead.

That would be the final score as Brian Elliott picked up his 6th straight win and Jon Cooper became the fastest coach in NHL history to win 450 games- just a day shy of one year since becoming the fastest to reach 400 wins.

3 Stars

1- Brayden Point- 2 goals

2- Brian Elliott- 34 saves for his 6th straight win

3- Brandon Hagel- shorthanded goal

Up Next

The Bolts will face their in-state rivals, the Florida Panthers, in a Saturday afternoon game at Amalie Arena at 4:30pm.




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