As the pre-season preparations move from workouts and scrimmages to exhibition games against other teams, the Lightning's first effort out of the gate featured two rallies, a fight, the North American debut of one of their prized goalie prospects, spectacular production from one line in particular and the longest 26 seconds anyone's experienced in a long time.
The first period ended in a scoreless tie with Tampa Bay outshooting Nashville 14-10.
At 1:02 of the second, Nashville cracked the seal with Filip Forsberg scoring on an assist from Colin Wilson.
The Lightning tied the game for the first time at 5:41 when Nikita Kucherov scored with help from Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Marchessault.
Just under two minutes later, the Predators regained the lead on a goal by Craig Smith from Derek Roy.
At 11:57, Luke Witkowski, who was a physical presence at both ends all night dropped the gloves and fought Jonathan-Ismael Diaby.
Things took a turn for the strange when linesman Tim Nowak was injured in front of the Lightning bench with :26 remaining in the period.
"I heard it. The play was coming to us, so natural instinct we back off and I hear this little bit of a shriek or a yelp and I thought it was their guy. I didn't know it was the linesman. So no, I didn't see it, I heard it." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
Nowak required assistance getting off the ice and the decision was made to send the teams to their dressing rooms and play the remaining 26 seconds after the intermission.
Following the standard intermission, 26 seconds were put on the clock and play began with a faceoff in the Lightning zone. It ticked off without incident and the horn sounded. Predators goalie Marek Mazanec (who replaced starter Carter Hutton just after the halfway point of the second period) and Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy swapped ends, 20 minutes was put on the clock and the third period began.
It appeared the game was tied again at 5:27 on a goal by Richard Panik but was immediately waved off due to incidental contact by Lightning forward Mike Angelidis.
The Lightning dominated play in the period, keeping pressure on Nashville for extended stretches. At 8:35, the Bolts did tie the game on a goal from Marchessault with Namestnikov providing the assistance.
The Bolts took their first lead at 13:49, getting what would be the eventual game winner from Mark Barberio from Valtteri Filppula and Witkowski
Marchessault added an insurance marker at 15:08, getting assists from linemates Namestnikov and Kucherov.
The Lightning and Predators will meet again on Thursday in Nashville.
- Tonight's announced attendance: 10,442.
- This was heralded goaltending prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy's first appearance in a Lightning uniform and first game in North America. He stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced on the night, turning away all shots he faced during five Nashville power plays.
- Tonight's three assistant captains for the Lightning were Jason Garrison, Matt Carle and Filppula.
- The Lightning have now won six straight pre-season "home" games, including games played at the Amway Center in Orlando and Germain Arena in Estero.