Another night, another preseason home opener against a Western Conference opponent. Last night, it was a 4-3 come from behind win (decided by a shootout) against the St. Louis Blues on the outer edge of the home market in Orlando. Tonight, the Lightning dominated from start to finish in beating the Nashville Predators in the familiar confines of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Lightning got things started at 5:42 of the first on a goal from Brett Connolly with an assist from Victor Hedman.
Just over a minute later, Ondrej Palat scored unassisted at 6:51.
Immediately after that, Nashville called their timeout to settle things down. It must have worked because there was no more scoring in the period and the Lightning carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Well, at least it worked until the 6:44 mark of the second when Ryan Malone and Luke Witkowski fed Steven Stamkos for a goal right in front of the Nashville net..
Just like last night, in an effort to share the work, the Lightning rotated goaltenders around the midway point of the game. Starter Riku Helenius departed after stopping all 15 shots he faced. He was replaced by Cedrick Desjardins, who went on to stop 16 of 17.
Connolly scored again at 18:51 with help from Victor Hedman and Andrej Sustr, giving the Bolts a 4-0 lead after two periods.
A bad giveaway by Desjardins at :46 of the third left him out of position and resulted in a shorthanded goal by Matt Cullen of the Predators.
However, the Lightning got that goal back during the same power play when Richard Panik scored at 2:03 with assists from Nikita Kucherov and Matt Taormina.
- After falling behind 3-0 to the St. Louis Blues last night in Orlando, the Lightning responded with a streak of seven unanswered goals.
- Tonight's attendance was announced as 10,332.
- Tonight's (assistant) captains were Victor Hedman, Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos. All three scored points and contributed four points overall (one goal, three assists).
- The Lightning will play their third game in a row (well, a contingent of Lightning players anyway) when they travel to St. Louis to face the Blues Friday night.
- Their fourth consecutive, and final preseason game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, will be Saturday night when they host the Florida Panthers. After that, they will not play at the Forum again until their regular season home opener on October 10 against the Panthers.
- Lightning head coach Jon Cooper doesn't expect retaliation for Adam Erne's hit to the head of St. Louis's Vladimir Sobotka last night in Orlando when the teams play tomorrow night. "It's an exhibition and we play them twice all year. I don't think they'll send a message that they're going to intimidate us."
- Erne was suspended for three games by the NHL office. The suspension will be served during the preseason (the first game of the three was tonight's) and won't affect his availability for the start of the regular season.
- The Lightning were outshot 32 to 21 on the night but outhit the Predators 29-14.