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Recap: Bolts lose a messy game, 3-1 to Predators

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A worn-out Lightning roster struggled to get going in lopsided loss to Nashville.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

1st Period

Throughout the first 20 minutes Tampa Bay just couldn’t get anything going. Playing the last game of a five game road trip, the Lightning seemed sluggish right out of the gate. The period seemed littered with careless turnovers and missed opportunities, and neither team had any large offensive possession times. The period was for the most part quiet offensively, and the shots total didn't breach ten until about 15 minutes into the frame.

The first Bolts scoring chance came off of a play initiated by Nikita Kucherov. With a self-pass against the boards, Kucherov was able to enter the zone and get a pass to Slater Koekkeok yet this was stopped by Preds netminder Pekka Rinne. Later in the frame Jonathan Drouin had a well-placed dump to Valtteri Filppula in the offensive zone, and Filppula took a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. Ryan Callahan was able to get a rebound, but the shot wouldn’t get past.

Throughout the period Drouin would have a few good looks, but nothing was going in.

Nashville eventually opened the scoring with 4:25 into the period. Josi had a seemingly harmless backhand on Ben Bishop’s glove side, however Viktor Arvidsson was able to get a redirect and get the puck behind the net.

Often the Predators would get in on the forecheck (see what I did there) [Hah. - Acha] and utilize a strong net-front presence to attempt to get shots behind Bishop. Towards the end of the frame, Bish displayed some frustration after Andre Sustr made a mistake behind the net, which led to a Preds scoring chance. Bishop showed his frustration about the game with a jab on Arvidsson.

The greatest scoring chance by the Bolts in this period came off a zone entry by Vladislav Namestnikov who passed to Brayden Point on the left side. Point fed it to Sustr on the opposing side of the net, but Sustr’s shot was gloved by Rinne.

Jon Cooper began shuffling lines early tonight due to the lack of production. The Triplets were on the ice for a time, and Palat was able to get a good feed to Tyler Johnson. TJ was in alone on net with a defender at his heels, but Rinne was able to make a great save. Shortly after, Tampa Bay let a four-on-two odd man rush into their zone. Victor Hedman was able to break up a pass to potentially save a score.

2nd Period

The Bolts had a much stronger start to this period. Immediately the Triplets had some opportunities in front of the opposing net, but weren’t able to capitalize. Later Drouin had a great look on an open net, but the puck went unsettled, and Drouin’s shot went wide.

“They have had glorious opportunities they just haven’t been able to sustain the pressure,” said Rick Peckham during the broadcast.

This narrative would soon cease because Point got called for tripping on Josi about 11:41 into the frame. The Preds had some consistent zone entries on the power play, including one particularly dangerous play when Josi was able to step pass the D. His shot was deterred by Bishop.

P.K. Subban eventually scored on the power play from a feed from Mark Riberio to bring it to a 2-0 lead for Nashville.

Soon after, the Bolts found themselves defending against another dangerous zone attempt by the Preds. This led to a hooking call on Alex Killorn, and the Bolts would again go down a man. Although Tampa Bay would get the kill, the Preds continued pressure, which saw Subban get a shot in from the point, making it 3-0. This would be P.K.’s fifth goal on the season. Bishop felt he was interfered-with on the play by Ribeiro, and would attempt to plead his case.

Johnson and Palat at one point had a great fast break down the ice. Johnson took a bad spill into the corner from an interference from a Preds defenseman, but the call went unnoticed. Missed calls were a popular issue throughout the rest of the game.

3rd Period

The third period was much of the same. The Lightning finally got their first power play, only to be cut short due to a Victor Hedman interference penalty. With a combination of questionable reffing and frustration from the Bolts, the game would soon turn into a series of scrums.

Due to things like this...

and this...

The refs let the game get away from them, and with about a minute left in the game, Brown left the ice due to the altercation. The final seconds found Vladdy and Subban in the box for roughing. Play resumed at 4-4 until Coop pulled Bish to make it 5-4 for the remainder of the frame. Tyler Johnson was able to steal one with about 40 seconds left to make to final score 3-1.

Game Notes and Worthy Mentions

  • Cedric Paquette and J.T. Brown continued their passionate play tonight with big hits and fights.
  • Brian Boyle returned to the lineup tonight after he missed last Saturday’s game due to a lower-body injury.
  • The Bolts now find themselves 12-7-1 going 7-3 in their last 10 match-ups.
  • Ben Bishop did not have a goalie coach in the World Cup of Hockey... interesting.
  • The Bolts went 4-1 as they closed out the five-game road trip.
  • All in all the team just seemed tired. In conjunction with injuries mounting and calls not going their way, the Bolts looked to get out of this game, recoup and get home happy with an eight-point road trip.