The Nashville Predators(5-0-3) survived a furious rally in the third period to give them a 4-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning (5-2-1) at the St Pete Times Forum.
Nashville used a tireless work ethic and forecheck to frustrate the Bolts for most of the game and built a 4-1 lead. Then turned it over to goaltender Anders Lindback who made that lead stand up by making 42 saves.
Coach Guy Boucher talked about the mistakes after the game, “You can not give two breakaways and two two-on-ones and expect to win the game. They are a good team, who plays the game fast.”
Sean Bergenheim got the Lightning on the board early taking a pass from Pavel Kubina on a partial breakaway and lifting a shot past Nashville goalie Anders Lindback at 6:30. It was Bergenheim’s third goal of the season at 6:30 and it gave the Bolts a 1-0 lead.
The Lightning started the game with energy, and they were taking the play to the Predators. Then midway through the first period, they seemed to take their foot off the gas pedal. This allowed the Nashville forecheck to take over the game as they started harassing the Tampa Bay defenseman.
Shea Weber scored his first goal of the year to tie the game at 11:54 from Frances Bouillon and Cal O’Reilly. It was a fluky goal that came off a blocked shot that bounced right on the stick of Webber who shot the puck in an open net. Goalie Dan Ellis was out of position after stopping Bouillon’s shot.
Sergei Kostitsyn extended the Preds lead with his first goal of the year at 15:04. Kostitsyn scored on a big rebound allowed by Ellis. Nick Spaling and Jerred Smithson drew assists on the play.
Nashville extended their lead to 3-1 as David Legwand sprung defenseman Cody Franson who put a head fake on Ellis for his 2nd goal at 17:55. Nashville scored the eventual game winner, a late third period goal by Colin Wilson, that extended the lead to 4-1 at 14:10.
Marty St Louis talked after the game, “They outworked us tonight for most of the game, except for part of the third period. You can not give a quality team like that a lead and expect to comeback and win.”
The Lightning played a reckless game the rest of the third period as they got two late goals by Martin St. Louis and Adam Hall to close the gap to 4-3 with four minutes to go in the game. But the Bolts couldn’t complete their furious comeback even with a late power play opportunity.
The Lightning return to the St Pete Times Forum on Wednesday to host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.