Nashville Predators 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2: Early Goals Propel Preds

The Preds have reached the century mark: 100 points on the season!

The Predators notched a second consecutive win against a top team in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Things are happening. Hockey is fun again.

Out of the gate, this game was much different than what we've been used to. The Predators not only put the first two goals on the board, but they did so while being outshot. Then, when the Lightning closed it to within one at the end of the 1st, threatening to take back momentum, Mike Santorelli responded to give the Preds a two goal lead.

The Lightning definitely came to life in the 2nd period. They were aggressive and dangerous, using speed to beat the Preds defense to the outside, generating open opportunities on the weak side. A 4-on-3 power-play for the Lightning was stymied, mostly by Pekka Rinne, but then Brian Boyle finally made the Preds pay for a turnover in their own zone, making it 3-2.

The 3rd period was "hold on to your butts" kind of hockey. I mean, I was literally holding onto my butt for most of that period. Especially when giving up a late 3rd period penalty. But the Preds found a way to escape with a very impressive win, mostly on the back of Pekka Rinne, who finished with 28 saves.

Excellent win. Two more points in the race for the playoffs. And things seem... dare I say, MUCH better?

Random Observations

  • Gentlemen, START YOUR GOAL ENGINES! Two goals in the first 5 minutes! First Josi's wrister from the blue line bounced by Bishop as Ribs just got a piece of the puck. Then Paul Gaustad with a nice fungo slap right in front of the goal crease. It's 2-0, guys. How about that??
  • So that's two fortunate bounces that ended up in goals for the Preds. How many bounces haven't done that in the last 3 weeks? My guess is 5 million.
  • Textbook momentum killer as the Lightning get on the board with less than 30 seconds left in the period. Vladislav Namestnikov wrapped around Rinne and banked it in off his left pad. Hard to feel bad about the game so far though. Preds are finding another gear when it matters. An incredible individual effort by Namestnikov makes it 2-1, but you have to like the way the first 20 minutes played out.
  • The Lightning came out angry in the 2nd period. Even giving up a rather questionable double minor on a high stick didn't faze them. They were physical and fast. Could have changed the tone of the game, if not for...
  • SANTO! He finally got one! I don't know if anyone on the team has been working as hard to score as Santorelli has. So great to see the hard work pay off as he slams home a rebound after his first shot was denied. 3-1 Preds! And Bishop is now being pulled in favor of Andrei Vasilevskiy
  • To be fair, Mattias Ekholm executed a textbook Fosbury flop when he got checked into the Tampa Bay bench.
  • Paul Gaustad, 2 minute minor for being 6'5" and 210 lbs.
  • A couple of huge saves by Rinne early in the 3rd, including a dandy on Killorn, who found himself right in front of the Nashville net. Rinne used his many goaltending skills to ensure a goal did not occur.
  • Predators are dangerously close to turtle-shelling this 3rd period. Not enough neutral zone control to generate any offense and the Lightning are pressing hard to tie it up. Don't like the looks of this.
  • A late 3rd period Tampa Bay power-play. Lordy.
  • Preds hold on to win! #PekkaForPresident2016

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Pekka Rinne: This man. Holding the #1 goal scoring team in the league to 2 goals and stopping 28 of 30 shots. Such a pleasure to watch him in between the pipes.
  • Roman Josi. His ability to control the puck in neutral ice was huge in this game, not to mention his assist on the Ribeiro tip in.
  • Mike Santorelli: The guy has been on that goal hunt since he got here and he finally got one. Great to see./

Tweets Of The Night

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