Game 8: Tampa Bay vs. Nashville Predators
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Nashville Predators 4-3.
This was a good game with a wild finish. Dan Ellis made some great saves early against his former team, but the story was Nashville's goalie Anders Lindback. The 22-year-old Swede was the difference maker in the game.
Much of the contest was penalty-free - a big change from the previous games that the Lightning have played. The first penalty of the evening wasn't until the very end of the first period, which ending up being offsetting penalties for both teams. And the first power play didn't happen four minutes into the second period, which ended up being for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay only had two penalties on the night. Of those two penalties, one was offsetting, as mentioned before. So the Lightning only gave the Predators only one power play all game, during which they were unable to score. Tampa Bay was 0-4 on the power play themselves.
The game really opened up late in the third period when Martin St. Louis scored on his eighth shot of the game with five minutes left to go to make it 4-2. Adam Hall scored 57 seconds after that to give put the Lightning within one. After that, the Lightning took a timeout to rally the troops and to give Steven Stamkos some time to recover.
Steven Stamkos was cross checked - and did draw a penalty - with 3:07 left in the game. Stamkos was shaken up, but apparently was okay enough to not miss a shift.
Near the end of that power play, they pulled Ellis for the extra man. The Lightning were outshooting the Predators already by something like 10 shots, but in the end, they outshot their opponents by almost 20 - final shots were 45-26 Tampa Bay.
The last three minutes of the game were something I'd never seen from this team before. They were running circles around Nashville like Nashville was a junior team. It was playoff hockey, but it's only October. If the Lightning can do that more as the season goes along, then the goal of "just" making playoffs might be a little too low for this team after all. It was very impressive, despite not getting a goal out of it.
And the Lightning player that was the most impressive in that final three minutes was probably Vincent Lecavalier. The man was everywhere. I think the only player on the ice that was better than Vinny in those final three minutes was Nashville's goalie Lindback.
The next game for the Lightning is Wednesday, 27 October, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game time is at 7:30 pm Eastern, and the Raw Charge game thread opens up 30 minutes before the game. If you're not heading to Channelside Drive to watch the game, stop in and say hi.