Tampa Bay Lightning Toppled By Nashville Predators In Shootout


5. 151. 4. 23. Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning fell 5-4 to the Nashville Predators in Music City after an intense battle stretching all the way to the shootout.

The Tampa Bay Lightning fought with everything they had to bring home a victory in Music City, but after falling flat in the shootout the Nashville Predators were able to make a last minute charge and defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning for the fifth straight time by a score of 5-4.

The Tampa Bay Lightning knew coming into this game they were going to have to bring their “A” game tonight in Music City if they wanted to come home with a victory over the Nashville Predators. When the puck dropped, the Lightning played with the fire and intensity needed to get the job done.

The Lightning would spend a lot of the first period in their offensive zone, peppering Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne with shots. One opportunity the Tampa Bay Lightning had during the first could very easily be considered as Grand Theft Puckery is when Lightning center Brian Boyle had a breakaway opportunity that was quickly turned away by Rinne.

Unfortunately, despite the offensive pressure the Tampa Bay Lightning spent the first period putting on the Predators, it would be the Preds who would eventually strike first blood in tonight’s encounter. What made this particular goal sting so much more than usual is it happened in the last minute of the period.

It would be Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher who would open up the scoring in tonight’s encounter with a nice wrist shot that made its way past Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop and into the back of the net.

While the Predators may have come out on top in the first period, there were a lot of good things the Tampa Bay Lightning were doing during the first 20 minutes of play. The Tampa Bay Lightning got the only Power Play opportunity in the first period. While the Bolts weren’t able to capitalize on their opportunity, this was one of the better opportunities we have seen so far this season. The Bolts made some good attempts, but couldn’t seem to break through Rinne’s defenses.

The second period turned out to be a whole different animal. For everything that happened in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s advantage, the Nashville Predators seemed to have an answer for. Early in the second period, the Tampa Bay Lightning would get their second opportunity of the night on the Power Play. This time, they would use the opportunity to their advantage.

In the final seconds of the Power Play, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos would score his 5th goal of the season to tie the game up for the Lightning. Making an impact in his first game back is Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who along with center Valtteri Filppula, would get credited with an assist on the captain’s power play goal.

As we approached the halfway point in the second period, Lightning would strike once again. This time it would be Nikita Kucherov who would find his way past Pekka Rinne. Assists on the Kucherov goal were awarded to his linemate Ondrej Palat and defenseman Braydon Coburn.

Unfortunately, less than two minutes later Predators captain Shea Weber would have something to say about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s lead as he scored his first goal of the season to tie things up between the Lightning and the Predators.

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As time continued to tick off the clock, the Tampa Bay Lightning knew they had to do something if they wanted to retain the lead heading into the second intermission. After a slightly extended review by the referees, Ryan Callahan would score his 3rd goal of the season to retake the lead for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Despite their best efforts, the Tampa Bay Lightning would not retain the lead heading into the second intermission. Predators right wing James Neal who, as we mentioned in our preview for tonight’s matchup, scored twice on Saturday night in the Predators 4-3 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators. On most occasions it would feel really nice to be right, but this is one of those instances when we wish we were wrong.

While it may seem as if there are an equal amount of negatives to go along with the positives for the Tampa Bay Lightning in tonight’s encounter, this is exactly the kind of game we expected between these two offensively-minded teams. Neither the Lightning nor the Predators want to leave the Bridgestone Arena without their two points, and both sides are going to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Surprisingly enough, this has been a fairly calm game between these two teams in this East vs. West matchup; especially on the penalty front. The good news is, the excitement has been on the ice instead of in the penalty box. This is the kind of game that keeps hockey fans on the edge of their seats.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the third period, the excitement that kept Tampa Bay Lightning fans on the edge of their seats quickly turned to nervous energy as the Nashville Predators continued their assault.

Early in the third, the Tampa Bay Lightning would pull ahead with a goal from Lightning right wing Erik Condra. The bad news for the Lightning was that the Predators had no intention of backing down until the fat lady sang her very last note. With just over five minutes left in the game, it was Predators right wing James Neal who would score his second goal of the night to send this back and forth battle to overtime.

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As stressful as the new 3-on-3 overtime must be for the players on the ice, it is probably one of the most exciting things NHL fans have experienced in quite some time; aside from their favorite team winning the Stanley Cup that is.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had one incredibly good opportunity during the 3-on-3 overtime period as Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman sped down the ice on a breakaway, but the puck was unfortunately turned up over the net by Pekka Rinne.

For the first time this season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, this battle was sent to a shootout. As most of you know by now, the Tampa Bay Lightning hasn’t seen a whole lot of success in this area lately, but that is no reason to lose hope for the future.

On the very first shot in the shootout, Predators left wing Filip Forsberg was able to put the puck past Ben Bishop and into the back of the net to give the Preds the early advantage. Ryan Callahan, Jonathan Drouin, and Nikita Kucherov would all make their attempts on the net, but each and every one of those attempts were turned aside by Rinne.

As the horn would sound for the final time, the Nashville Predators would pull out a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Music City. This is the fifth straight defeat the Lightning has suffered at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

Scoring his second straight multi-point game, James Neal proved to be a thorn in the side of the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the Tampa Bay Lightning want to find themselves in a favorable position at the conclusion of the regular season, the Bolts are going to have to learn how to neutralize players like Neal before they are able to make the kind of impact Neal had in tonight’s encounter.

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Despite falling to the Predators in tonight’s game, there are a lot of positives coming out of tonight’s game. In his first game back from injury, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was able to come home with two assists in the encounter, raising his season totals to 6 points from 6 assists.

Also, the Tampa Bay Lightning Power Play unit was able to capitalize on one of the two opportunities they were presented in tonight’s matchup. While a 50% conversion is easy to achieve when you only have two opportunities with the man-advantage, this is certainly an improvement from the way the special teams has been playing lately.

While we are on the topic of special teams, the Lightning’s penalty kill was able to shut down the Predators on all three of the opportunities they had tonight with the man-advantage. The special teams certainly has a long way to go before they are in the position they want to find themselves in, this is certainly a step in the right direction.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has two days off before they have to head into the MTS Centre in Winnipeg to face off with captain Andrew Ladd and the Winnipeg Jets in another East vs. West showdown. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8:00 p.m. The Lightning will definitely need their Thunder as they head to the great, white North. Will you be ready to Be The Thunder once again?

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