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Nashville Predators 6, Tampa Bay Lightning 1: Predators Collapse Again

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Apologies to anyone who had to watch that.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Just 24 hours after the Nashville Predators were silenced by the Tampa Bay Lightning, losing their third game to the reigning champions of the season, the boys in gold were back in action to run it back. For tonight’s game, Mattias Ekholm returned to the lineup after the birth of his daughter last night. That was the only roster change the fanbase seemed to be pleased with; the Forsberg-Duchene-Granlund line was broken up, and the resulting lines included lines with Forsberg-Sissons-Arvidsson, and Granlund-Kunin-Duchene (Yes, Matt Duchene is a center.) Juuse Saros returned as goaltender, and the Nashville Predators fell to the Lightning yet again, 6-1.

First Period

Nashville got a fresh shot at the power play early on, as Ryan McDonagh was sent to the box for boarding inside the first two minutes. While they characteristically did not score on the man-advantage, Rocco Grimaldi put Nashville on the board early. In transition, he skated to center ice in front of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky and lasered the puck past him.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Lightning were handed a quick opportunity to answer, though, as they went onto the power play after Ryan Ellis was called for interference. Nashville killed off this penalty, and for the first time in a while, I felt some postive feelings about this hockey team! (This was short-lived.) Nashville got another shot at a power play of their own soon after: Jan Rutta for cross-checking. Soon after the two minutes began, another scuffle broke out and it resulted in Michael McCarron going to the sin bin for cross-checking. Folks, these teams really don’t like each other.

After the 4-on-4 time ended, Tampa had a bit of time left on their own man advantage. While the Bolts didn’t technically score on the power play, the possession started with the advantage led to the shot that Steven Stamkos rebounded back into the net to tie the game at one.

Trouble would continue for the Preds, as Mike Malone hooked Blake Coleman, and sent Tampa right back onto the power play. In a rather beautiful example of how a power play can look, Tampa tore apart Nashville’s penalty kill and Ondrej Palat finished it off. It would not get better. Less than two minutes later, Mathieu Joseph would wrist one home to extend the lead to two.

Late in the period, the Predators were granted yet another chance on the power play. It, predictably, did not go well. Nashville was left without a goal, and that would mercifully end the first period.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Second Period

In a second period where one would hope that Nashville would come out like a bat out of hell, the Predators did a whole lot of nothing early on. They were given a power play opportunity at the 14-minute mark, thanks to a tripping call on Alex Killorn. Nothing resulted from it. Luke Schenn took a cheap shot at Mathieu Olivier, likely because he was salty about losing to him in last night’s fight. Nothing resulted from it.

Finally, Colton Sissons broke through and put a puck past Vasilevsky. The goal was called off, due to Sissons being deemed offside. That was just about everything of note that took place in the middle 20 minutes. The Predators still trailed by two.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Third Period

The beginning of the third period was more of the same for Nashville; they couldn’t generate any goals, and Tampa was content to sit back and let the clock run out. This finally changed at the 13-minute mark, but not in the Predators’ favor. Yanni Gourde scored on a feed from Mikhail Sergachev and Viktor Hedman, and the Bolts led 4-1. Stamkos added another one of his own, and it was 5-1. Then, in another power play goal, Viktor Hedman sent in the puck from the blue line, and Joseph finished it off. This was the worst game of the season for Nashville. Nashville loses, again, 6-1.

Random Observations

  • While I was casually watching the Sens-Oilers game on NBCSN before Nashville’s game started, I began to realize that I’m not a fan of their logo. I usually support teams going back to their roots, but both versions of their logo just don’t really work. I think they might need a full-blown redesign.
  • As this game begins, we are reunited with the gold helmets that were absent from last night’s “Reverse Retro” uniforms. I miss them.
  • Watching Nashville’s power play and then watching the Bolts’ feels like an Oxi-Clean “Before-After” commercial. It’s like they’re playing by two different sets of rules.
NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

OTF’s Three Stars of the Night

There were no stars tonight. That was hard to watch.

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