The Lightning broke their three game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Predators in overtime. Nashville got off to a hot start in the first period but Tampa came back and took over in the second and third periods. And unlike the last two games against the Caps and Canes, they were rewarded for their strong play.
The Lightning opened the scoring in the first period against the run of play on a slapper from the high slot from Victor Hedman. The teams traded goals in the second period with Calle Jarnkrok scoring to tie it for the Preds and then Ondrej Palat finishing a pretty passing play to give the Lighnting the lead again.
In the third, Kyle Turris tied it for the Predators. Overtime was the bugaboo for the Lightning against the Capitals but not tonight. They dominated the extra period and eventually Steven Stamkos hit Nikita Kucherov at the back post for an easy tap in.
The game was surprisingly physical considering these teams don’t play often. It featured lots of scrums and after whistle activity. It could also result in multiple suspensions. Ryan Johansen received a major penalty for elbowing Brayden Point in the head. Point was able to remain in the game. Erik Cernak also received a penalty for a hit to the head but his was only a minor despite looking every bit as bad as Johansen’s. I expect both players will be hearing from the Department of Player Safety.
The Lightning were the better team tonight, particularly after the first period. They dominated the second period and gave a little bit back in the third but not enough to tilt the game back in favor of the Preds. As a bonus, they controlled the puck for almost the entirety of the overtime.
Finally! A win! I was so tired of watching this team play well against good teams only to lose by one goal. That was the story of the previous three games but tonight, they got two points. That gives them three points in this four game stretch against exceptionally tough competition. They deserved better but they’ll have to settle for what they got.
The only downside of this game was Cernak landing another elbow to the head. He has to stop doing that. He was one of the most effective defensive players in the NHL last season in his rookie year but two head shots in a week will rightfully give him a reputation as a borderline dirty player. He has to figure out a way to keep himself under control because if he can’t stay on the ice, it doesn’t matter how good he is. He’ll start slipping down the roster in favor of players who are consistently available.
Victor Hedman goal to make it 1-0
Ondrej Palat goal to make it 2-1
Kyle Turris goal to make it 2-2
Nikita Kucherov goal to make it 3-2