In the second outing of a four-game road trip, the Nashville Predators faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time in three days. After dropping the first match in a 4-3 loss, the Predators swapped out Pekka Rinne for Juuse Saros in net. Not only that, but the lines were shuffled around and the team was left with a top six that featured Cousins-Johansen-Arvidsson, with Forsberg-Duchene-Granlund making up the second unit. Eeli Tolvanen got his first start of the season, as the Predators fell to the Lightning for the second time in three days, 5-2.
Jarred Tinordi got sent to the box within the first two minutes, and Nashville seemed to be plagued with the same issues in the second game that they had in the first. Luckily, the penalty was killed off and the Predators got their own chance at a man-advantage soon after, as Erik Cernac was sent to the sin bin for interference. Nashville generated nothing from it, but it’s always fun to see if a blind squirrel can find a nut, right?
Soon after the power play, Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat found themselves on a 2-on-1 that was initially thwarted by a dive from Roman Josi, but an out-of-position Saros led to an easy tip-in goal for Palat. With the Lightning securing the opening lead, the Predators quickly made matters worse by going on the penalty kill once again, this time courtesy of a tripping call on Roman Josi. While the penalty was, once again, successfully killed, Yanni Gourde tipped another one right past Saros in front of the net moments after even-strength hockey was resumed.
The only other score in the first period would come with 0.4 seconds left. Believe it or not, it was not the Predators who scored. On a 2-on-0, Brayden Point beat the buzzer to score his third goal of the season, and the Lightning’s third goal of the night. The Preds trailed 3-0 after the first 20.
After a grave opening period, Nashville looked to bounce back in a big way and get itself back into the game. Instead, they bounced back with their third penalty of the night. After the clock ran out on that power play for Tampa, the Predators were quick to give them their second chance this period as Nick Cousins got sent to the box for tripping. Steven Stamkos converted on this one, scoring from the same spot he did in the game on Saturday and putting the Bolts up four.
Midway through the period, right after the Forsberg-Duchene-Granlund line got the first real taste of pressure the Nashville had seen in the period, the Predators went on the power play. After Erik Cernak got sent to the box for the second time tonight, Mikhail Sergachev followed him and Nashville was handed a 40 second 5-on-3. Neither the 5-on-3 nor the remaining 5-on-4 time generated a goal. Duchene had a wide-open chance inches from the net, and sent it about 5 feet over the crossbar; Tampa led 4-0 heading into the final period.
Early in the third period, we got our first Nashville goal of the night! Eeli Tolvanen sniped one past Vasilevsky to give him his first goal of the season. But wait, is that another Predators goal? It is! Mikael Granlund scored, and all of a sudden the Predators were only trailing by two with most of the third period left to go. However, that would be the last goal of the night for the visiting Predators. Yanni Gourde scored an empty-netter goal with ten seconds left, and the Predators failed to get a point against the reigning champs.
- Continuing the thought I had in game one...why does Tampa ever need an alternate at home? These blues are some of the nicest sweaters in the whole league, so there should be no excuse to bring out those all-blacks.
- Arvy gets a wide-open look right in front of Vasilevsky, but he can’t capitalize on the feed from Johansen.
- Tampa is playing “keep away” during this delayed call, and the Predators don’t seem to mind. Can’t help but think they’ve already mentally checked out of this game.
- We have entered the third period, and the broadcast team is talking about persevering and believing in the team. We’re at that point of the game, folks.
OTFs Three Stars of the Game
- Eeli Tolvanen—Scored his first goal of the season, gave Predators fans a light at the end of the tunnel.
- Mikael Granlund—Made me naïvely think we maybe had a chance for a minute there.
- There is no third star. This game was bad.