Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Nashville Predators 2: Barry Trotz's Lineup Gambit Flops

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Following stern public statements by head coach Barry Trotz over the last couple days, and the benching of Colin Wilson tonight, the Nashville Predators came out with a lackluster effort at Tampa Bay, falling behind early and never quite catching up in a 4-2 loss. Former Preds goalie Anders Lindback got the win for the Lightning, making 28 saves while four different Tampa goal-scorers lit the lamp.

Craig Smith stood out for the Preds (16-16-3) with two goals, his first since scoring twice against Toronto on November 21st. After taking 3rd Star of the Week honors last week, Carter Hutton suffered his second consecutive loss, getting pulled late in the second period after giving up four goals. Marek Mazanec stopped all 19 shots in relief, and so takes over the title of "hot goalie" for the moment.

Next up, the Preds return home for a Saturday night home game against the Montreal Canadiens, a 6:00 p.m. start.

Random Observations

  • So, who else was honked off to see Colin Wilson scratched? I'm not saying surprised, because we saw this coming yesterday. Trotz's pre-game interview with Willy Daunic included calling out some guys who "don't want to buy into what we need to do to win", which is a pretty damning phrase from a head coach. While he didn't mention Wilson by name, it's pretty obvious who he's talking about.
  • Add a forearm shiver from Ondrej Palat to the ongoing list of injustices that Patric Hornqvist has to endure for digging for goals around the crease. That shot he took late in the second period was nasty.
  • Five power plays, 9:22 with the man advantage and just four shots on goal. Yes, one of Smith's scores came on the PP, but there was an opportunity lost to get back in the game.
  • Gabriel Bourque got back in the lineup after a week in Chateau Le BowWow and
  • According to SportsClubStats.com, the Preds' playoff chances are down to 2.4%. We're approaching that time where the mindset needs to become "look ahead to 2014-15, and perhaps that will lead to more playing time for the kids who need to develop. Until then, I'm sure Trotz is focused on doing whatever it takes to win the next game, and in his mind, apparently that means going with dependably mediocre pluggers (Wagon Line!) rather than more spectacular but risky forwards like Smith, Bourque & Wilson.

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - Fancy Stats

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