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Nashville Predators 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 1: Rinne Makes 42 Saves in Return from IR

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The big man in goal stopped 42 of 43 shots in Tampa Bay.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In what was forecasted to be a clash of the titans, the #1 and #2 teams in the NHL faced off tonight in Florida. Tampa Bay took the first penalty early in the game. Nashville, per usual, was unable to do anything except cycle the puck around on the power play. Kyle Turris scored Nashville’s first goal with 13:58 remaining in the first on a fluky bounce in front of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Right before the period drew to a close, Ryan Johansen was able to pull a puck off the boards away from a Bolts defender. He whipped the puck across the ice and Roman Josi slapped it home.

Mattias Ekholm was sent to the penalty box about six minutes into the second period for tripping. The Nashville penalty killers were successful. The Predators spent most of the second unable to clear the puck from their zone and maintain possession. A weird broken play allowed Slater Koekkoek to snap home a goal with 5:39 remaining in the second.

With 15:30 remaining in the third, Roman Josi was whistled for cross-checking. The Predators would have to prove their mettle again against a strong Lightning power play. They did, but it appeared that Nashville was on its heels as the third period marched on.

Ryan Johansen picked up a deflected puck in the Preds zone and skated the puck in with Calle Järnkrok. Järnkrok was able to bury the puck over Vasilevskiy’s glove to put Nashville up by two. With Vasilevskiy on the bench, Miikka Salomäki was able to skate a puck into the empty net for his second goal of the season. Both of Salomäki’s goals are empty-netters.

It didn’t seem like Nashville played the best game tonight. In fact, it seemed like Tampa Bay had the puck for a majority of the game. The Preds found a way to hang on behind the incredible effort of Pekka Rinne.

Random Observations

  • Viktor Arvidsson is out with a lower body injury. I am sad.
  • Can we...decline a penalty?
  • Holy Rinne save! Hey welcome back, big guy!
  • That was probably the weirdest goal of the season.
  • Pekka doing Pekka things.
  • Why can’t we get the puck out of our own zone??????
  • Ryan Ellis: “WOW!”
  • What an incredible setup by Johansen for Josi. Again, as Ellis said, WOW!
  • I am kinda worried the Preds are coasting in the second period.
  • Slater Koekkoek has an awesome name.
  • The Predators look like they are scrambling hard at the end of the second.
  • Can y'all stop icing the puck?
  • Can y'all get the puck out of your zone?
  • Calle Järnkrok!!!!!!!! Another one!
  • Miikka ices it.
  • Nashville flipped the momentum in Tampa Bay without anyone noticing. They spent most of the game on their heels and still found a way to get two points.
  • Frosty time in Tennessee!

Super Duper Stars of the Night

  1. Pekka Rinne: After 5 games off while rehabbing from an injury, Rinne looked spectacularly rested and sharp tonight. There was zero sign of rust on the big Finn. He made more than a few incredible saves to keep the Predators in the game. 42 saves on 42 shots...have a game, Pekka.
  2. Ryan Johansen: His no-look pass to Josi and his feed to Järnkrok were beautiful. Johansen is showing us his worth as a first-line centerman. Johansen had two assists tonight and won 17 of 23 face-offs.
  3. Calle Järnkrok: We’ve needed Järnkrok to get going. He’s had two absolute smackeroos in his last two games when Nashville needed him.

Tweets of the Night

Game Video