In one of the most solid offensive efforts this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Nashville Predators 4-2.
In a very welcome series of events, the Tampa Bay Lightning started off this game with a bang. They opened up the scoring with a goal from center Alex Killorn. Killer used a wrist shot to find his way to the back of the net with the assists from defenseman Victor Hedman, who made his return to the Lightning lineup tonight after being sidelined since December 5th, and J.P. Cote, who is making his debut with the Lightning tonight.
In the final minute of the first period, Lightning captain Martin St. Louis would find the back of the net while the Bolts were on their first Power Play of the night. This was St. Louis 14th goal this season, and more importantly, his 350th goal in a Lightning jersey.
When the second period began, the Predators would battle for their first goal of the night. They would finally find it at 6:36 when a wrist shot from Predators center Craig Smith. However, their celebration wouldn’t last very long.
At 11:27 in the second, defenseman Radko Gudas would be sent to the box for 2 minutes for Roughing Predators left wing Gabriel Bourque. This would ultimately open the door for Craig Smith to score his second goal of the night, this time on the Power Play. However, in what is becoming a wonderful little pattern here, the Lightning would bounce right back.
With about 5 minutes left in the third period, I think the hearts of every member of the Bolts Nation simultaneously stopped. After a small collision in front of the net, St. Louis was dumped to the ice and his neck collided with the goal post. I think most of us had visions of that fateful game where Steven Stamkos broke his tibia. Thankfully, St. Louis was able to get up and continue on with the game.
With just over two and a half minutes left in the game, the Predators would pull Mazanec in order to get an extra skater on the ice. Unfortunately, it would not be enough for the Preds to put another puck on the net.
The Lightning would ultimately defeat the Predators 4-2.
As I said before, the Lightning played a solid offensive game tonight. At the sound of the buzzer, the Shots on Goal were 33-30 in favor of the Lightning. While they were beat in the Faceoff circle by the Predators, it was not by much. The Faceoffs were 32-28 in favor of Nashville.
When asked post-game about what stood out for him in tonight’s win, Coach Cooper didn’t hesitate at all.
“Anders Lindback. No question.” Cooper says. “He has deserved to win games. He’s played extremely well for us, and he’s got the added pressure of Coach putting him in against his old team, but he stood tall to the task.”
Anders Lindback played quite the game against his former team indeed. He was able to stop 28 of the 30 shots brought against him for a Save Percentage of .933. I am happy that Lindback finally had the offensive support in front of the net that he needed to get the win. For the most part, he has played solid this season, but with little to no help in front of the net on the nights he starts, his numbers aren’t a true indication of his skill. That all changed tonight.
Three Stars of the Game:
Next up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, December 21st.
What did you think of the Lightning’s performance tonight? How much of an effect do you think the addition of Victor Hedman and J.P. Cote to the defensive line had tonight? What do the Lightning need to do in order to keep this momentum going against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.