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The last two games haven’t gone the Tampa Bay Lightning’s way, but they are still a team that out of 28 games have only lost eight at home. Road games against the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens were high scoring games just not from the Lightning. They were out-scored 9-3 in those two games only getting goals from JT Brown, Valterri Filppula and Victor Hedman.
Game notes coming into tonight’s game.
Lightning Alternate Captain Ryan Callahan played in his 600th career NHL game tonight (150th with the Lightning). Callahan is also on a three game assist streak and is his longest streak of the season.
Victor Hedman is one assist away from typing Pavel Kubina for eighth on the Lightning all-time list. While Captain Steven Stamkos (241) is only three assists away from tying Vaclav Prospal (244) for forth on the all-time list. Stamkos is also three goals away from 300 for his NHL career.
Pekka Rinne is 5-0-0 vs The Lightning through his career.
Before the game the Lightning honored former equipment manager Jim Pickard who passed away recently with a moment of silence.
Nashville started off this game early controlling the puck in the Lightning’s defensive zone for nearly the first two minutes of the game. The Bolts were able to get a shot on net; however, Nashville would get control again taking the puck back into the Lightning zone. Play would go back and forth for both teams until barely past the midway point Mike Fisher (Carrie Underwood’s Husband not that it matters just wanted to put Carrie Underwood in this article) skated into the zone and ripped a shot from above the left circle. Bishop was unable to block the stick side high corner shot. Nashville would take a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. While the Lightning would get a few moments here and there of sustained pressure in the offensive zone the way they have played the last three games makes me forget the recently eight game home winning streak and flash back to the early season troubles. Lightning finish the first period with nine shots on goal, but I’ll be honest it felt like a lot less.
The second would be a huge difference from the first. Tampa Bay would come out almost right off the face-off shooting, unfortunately it would stay that way for very long as the Predators would regain the offensive edge they had in the first period. While the Lightning had two shots on goal through nearly 5 minutes the Predators were able to fire off three very quickly on Ben Bishop. The second period also brought us something the first didn’t as James Neal would serve a Nashville bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice. Tampa Bay would get a brief power play before Alex Killorn would head to the box shortly thereafter for a holding penalty. Almost midway through the second period JT would notch his seventh goal of the season following a ton of pushing and shoving in front of Pekka Rinne. Moments later after Paul Porter barely announced the first goal by Brown, Nikita Kucherov would want to get in on the action by getting his 22nd goal of the season. Brown feeling that scoring bug creep up again would get a nice shot off, but Rinne would cover it up keeping the Bolts just one goal ahead of his Predators.
Tampa Bay came out extremely stale through most of the third period. The Bolts went most of the third period with registering a shot on goal. Their third period was the worst period they had played at home in quite a while. The passing was horrendous in the defensive zone due to trying to be too cute. James Neal and Filip Forsburg would help the Predators regain the lead off Lightning mistakes. Late in the period Steven Stamkos was able to draw a late hooking penalty giving the Bolts a power play that they would capitalize on when with 26 seconds left in regulation Stamkos would tie the game up sending it to 3 on 3 overtime. Just about a minute into the overtime period Tyler Johnson was going to make a change, but Stamkos would put the puck on his stick and Johnson raced into the offensive zone sliding the pass under Rinne’s pads to give the Lightning the win an a much needed two points.
3 Stars of the Game
*** 3rd Star of the Game – JT Brown: This guy continues to be a spark plug lower in the line-up. After Mike Fisher gave the Predators the lead in the first, Filppula would get JT the puck and tie the game up midway through the 2nd.
** 2nd Star of the Game – Tyler Johnson: Big goal in 3 on 3 overtime to give the Bolts 2 points. He progression following his early injuries continues.
* 1st Star of the Game – Steven Stamkos: Gets a huge goal with 26 seconds left in the game after drawing a hooking penalty.
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