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Game 54: Lightning snap skid with 4-3 OT winner

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A return to home ice saw the Tampa Bay Lightning break a two game losing streak, rallying for the tie with less than a minute remaining in regulation and eventually beating the Nashville Predators in overtime.

Tyler Johnson scores the game winner in overtime of the Lightning's 4-3 victory over Nashville Friday night.
Tyler Johnson scores the game winner in overtime of the Lightning's 4-3 victory over Nashville Friday night.
Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Friday night.

The Lightning broke their two game losing streak while extending their home winning streak to nine games, but it wasn't easy. This one saw multiple lead changes before being settled in overtime.

Neither team looked particularly sharp to start with lots of soft and sloppy passing on both sides. This would be a theme that continued throughout the night. The Predators were slightly less unimpressive and opened the scoring at 9:40 of the first on a goal from Mike Fisher, getting assists from Viktor Arvidsson and Mattias Ekholm.

The Lightning looked much better in the second and tied things up at the 8:22 mark with J.T. Brown taking several hacks at his own rebound before getting it past Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. Valtteri Filppula and Andrej Sustr were credited with assists on the play.

Less than two minutes later at 10:07, the Lightning took their first lead on another hard work goal. This time, it was Nikita Kucherov scoring with Nashville's Ryan Ellis hanging all over him on a delayed penalty. Kucherov was sprung on a long lead pass from Nikita Nesterov. Goalie Ben Bishop picked up the secondary assist.

The Lightning would carry the 2-1 lead into the second intermission but the sloppiness returned in the third.

James Neal tied the game for the Predators at 4:01, scoring on a breakaway with Roman Josi and Barret Jackman offering assistance.

Nashville regained the lead at 7:46 when Filip Forsberg was able to skate right in on Bishop and score high. Mike Ribeiro and Josi got the helpers.

The Lightning were beneficiaries of a late penalty when Arvidsson was called for Slashing with 2:24 remaining, a call that did not please Nashville coach Peter Laviolette:

"It wasn't a penalty. Next question. It was a penalty, actually; it was Embellishment by (Steven Stamkos) dropping their stick, Next question.".

With two extra skaters, thanks to an empty net, Stamkos nearly tied it with :52 remaining, hitting the crossbar instead of the net. He would get another chance with just :27 left and this time buried it. Victor Hedman and Kucherov offered assists.

"Yeah, there was some extra oomph on those shots with some frustration and it worked out. Obviously nice to come up and score a big goal for the team. It has been a tough go lately offensively, but like I have been saying, I'm just sticking with it and trying to do things well in other areas. You want to still feel like you're contributing to the teams success and tonight it was nice to do it on the score sheet." - Stamkos

Tyler Johnson ended it just 1:04 into overtime, scoring on assists from Hedman and Stamkos.

The homestand continues Sunday when the Lightning will host the St. Louis Blues. Game time is 6:00 PM.

Game notes:

  • This was the first time the Lightning beat the Predators since December 19. 2013, a streak of four games.
  • The Lightning are now 5-3-0 all-time at home against the Predators and 10-8-2 with two ties overall.
  • This was the first time Pekka Rinne lost to the Lightning.
  • This was the first time Ben Bishop beat the Predators.
  • Hedman caught and passed Pavel Kubina for eighth place among the Lightning's all-time assists leaders.
  • Tampa Bay is 6-3-0 in the openers of multi-game homestands this season.
  • The Lightning have a 5-4-2 record against opponents from the Central Division.
  • Ryan Callahan played in his 600th NHL game.
  • Tomorrow, the Lightning will host "Hockey Day in Tampa Bay" with festivities beginning outside Amalie Arena at 9:00 AM. Activities include open practices for the Lightning and Blues, sled hockey, a high school all-star game and the annual game between local firefighters and law enforcement officers with Lightning alumni on both rosters.
  • The Lightning honored Tyrone Keys as the 28th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game. Keys, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to All Sports Community Services (ASCS) and Derrick Brooks Charities. Tonight's community hero defines the meaning of diligence. For the past 22 years, the former Super Bowl champion has tirelessly worked in the Tampa Bay area by assisting NFL players such as Derrick Brooks and Mike Alstott in launching their philanthropic careers. In mentoring over 1,000 students through his two decades of service, Keys' passion and character established a ripple effect on his students, who are now educators, mentors and youth coaches. Today, Keys is the Senior Executive and Community Relations Director for the Junior Buccaneers program where five of his students serve as coaches. His hard work and dedication eptiomizes the hundreds of active and former NFL players who are contributing to their communities each and every day. Keys becomes the 207th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $10.5 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.