After a chippy 4-3 victory on Saturday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to make it 2 in a row over the Nashville Predators on Monday. Defenseman Erik Cernak returned to action for the Bolts after suffering an injury last week. However, offense was the story as Monday’s game got underway in Tampa.
Penalties come early and Palat opens the scoring
After Saturday night’s penalty parade, it seemed from the outset that this one would be much of the same. Fortunately for the Lightning, it was the Predators sent to the sin bin just 1:48 into the game. Jarred Tinordi was the culprit as he committed a hold on Brayden Point. Nashville got their first opportunity roughly 3 minutes later, but neither power play converted on their first attempts.
Tampa Bay broke through first thanks to a red hot Ondrej Palat. Skating in a 2 on 1 with Steven Stamkos, Palat converted a loose puck with a backhand past Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros. Stamkos had an attempted pass to Palat broken up by Roman Josi but Palat was able to clean things up in front of the net to give Tampa Bay an early 1-0 lead with his 4th goal of the season.
Gourde adds to lead and Point beats the buzzer
The Lightning benefited from the next penalty as Roman Josi found himself in the box for tripping. Looking to create one last rush and beat Josi out of the box, Mikhail Sergachev found Anthony Cirelli open on the entry. Cirelli fed Tyler Johnson across ice at the right circle and Johnson connected with a streaking Yanni Gourde who converted to extend the Lightning lead. Gourde’s 2nd goal of the season was at even strength as the penalty to Josi had expired.
The final seconds of the period sent flashbacks of the 2015 playoffs through the minds of Lightning fans everywhere. In game 3 of the second round against the Montreal Canadiens, Tyler Johnson tipped in a Victor Hedman pass as time expired to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 victory. Fast forward about 6 years. This time, it was Brayden Point beating a buzzer. Point and Mathieu Joseph found themselves behind the Predators’ defense and all alone on Saros. Point dished to Joseph who opted to flip the puck immediately back instead of attempting the shot. This left a sizable gap to the right of Saros and Point was able to convert. The puck found the back of the net just as the period buzzer sounded, sending the imaginary sellout crowd at Amalie Arena into a frenzy.
Tampa Bay had all the momentum and energy in the first period and took a 3-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes.
Stamkos stands alone at top of franchise power play points
During Saturday night’s win, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos claimed his share of history by tying Martin. St. Louis’ franchise record of 300 power play points. Tonight, the captain cemented himself alone at the top of that list. With the score still at 3-0, Stamkos found himself in his usual “office” at the left circle. However, it was not the usual Stammer one-timer we have grown accustomed to seeing. Instead, Stamkos took a more cerebral approach, pausing momentarily before firing a wrist shot through traffic and into the net for his 4th goal of the season.
Make it four, Captain! pic.twitter.com/2AnlhMWUIJ
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) February 2, 2021
The goal was Stamkos 301st career power play point. Most all time in Tampa Bay Lightning history.
Predators rally too little, too late
A game that appeared to be on cruise control became a bit closer in the game’s final period. Eeli Tolvanen eliminated the Predators goose egg less than 3 minutes into the period. Mikael Granlund cut the lead to 2 less than 3 minutes later by cashing in on a rebound from a one timer.
Tampa Bay locked down defensively and Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall when needed throughout this contest. Yanni Gourde added an empty net goal in the closing seconds to put a bow on a 5-2 Lightning win.
Tampa Bay moves to 5-1-1 on the season including a 4-0 record on home ice.
Next up: The Detroit Red Wings come to town for a 2 game series beginning Wednesday night.
3 Stars of the game
- Steven Stamkos (1 G, 1 A – And another record for the captain)
- Ondrej Palat (1 G)
- Yanni Gourde (2G)
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