The Tampa Bay Lightning attacked Nashville goalie Juuse Saros with the immediacy that it takes the bolts of lightning to pop out of the coils in Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.
Yanni Gourde scored two goals, including a late empty netter, and Tampa Bay blew out to a 3-0 lead after one period as the Lightning downed the Nashville Predators, 5-2 on Monday evening.
Brayden Point closed the door on Nashville at the end of the first period as he and Mathieu Joseph connected on the Lightning’s third goal of the first period with 0.4 seconds left in the period.
“It was a good throw by Sergy (Mikhail Sergaachev) and we got a lucky bounce so I threw over to Joe (Mathieu Joesph) and he made a good pass back,” said Point. ”
Point touched the puck to Joseph who was skating up on the right crease then Joseph immediately slid the return pass onto Point’s blade as Point pushed the puck in off the left side.
It was Point’s third goal of the season and Mikhail Sergachev also picked up a helper on the play.
Ondrej Palat got things going for Tampa Bay at 9:13 when he scored his fourth goal of the season as he gathered the puck after Steve Stamkos lost it in front of the net Saros went for the puck, but Palat delayed the shot and tapped it past outstretched Saros for a 1-0 Lightning lead.
The Lightning went on the second power play on defenseman Roman Jossi for tripping at 11:54 and Yanni Goude scored his second goal of the season just after the end of the power play.
Tyler Johnson and Anthony Cirelli assisted at 13:59 for a 2-0 Lightning lead.
“The goals went in our favor and I thought Nashville set the pace of the game early,” said Lightning coach John Cooper. “You get that first one and that was probably deflating for them. It wasn’t so much the second one, but the third one with one second makes it tough to go to the room now.”
It was a big night for Lightning goal Andrei Vasielevsky as he picked up his fourth consecutive win against Nashville after starting his career 0-3-1 vs. the Predators.
Steven Stamkos fired past Saros glove for the fourth Lightning goal at 7:23 in the second period off the power play. Stamkos was settled in the left circle off the face-off and the puck went just past Saros’ glove for the 4-0 lead.
Nashville had it’s best chance to cut into the lead midway through the second period when the Preds went on a 5-on-3 for 44 seconds after Cernak penalty and a cross-check on Sergachev. The Lightning penalty kill was once again up to speed as it killed four Nashville penalties on he evening.
The Predators didn’t go a away as they brought the fight to Vasilevskiy early in the third period.
Eelie Tovanen picked up his first goal of the season from Erik Haula at 2:53 and then Mikael Granlund’s third goal of the season came 2:48 later as Ryan Ellis and Jossi assisted.
“They played well and I thought we stepped back,” said Point. “We weren’t making plays any more. We were trying todefend instead of making plays and they took advantage of it.”
Tampa Bay moved to 4-0-0 at Amalie Arena to start the season with four home wins for the sixth time in the history of the franchise.