TAMPA — Nashville Predators center Callie Jarnkrok scored a goal and added three assists as the Predators erupted with a three-goal second period en route to a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Amalie Arena Monday afternoon.
It was Nashville’s first win of the season against the Lightning as Tampa Bay had taken the first five.
“I look back at our last two losses,” said Lightning coach John Cooper. “Scoring chances are nearly 2-1. We have had some good zone time and we have done some good things. We got beat and there have been some times this year that we have not played as well as the other team and we won.”
Jarnkrok’s short-handed goal gave Nashville a 3-0 lead at 11:46 in the second period as it was a breakaway goal off of a high pass from behind the net which ricocheted off of Lightning center Brayden Point’s stick. It accounted for Nashville’s second short-handed goal of the season as the Preds’ penalty kill came in last in the NHL at only 67 percent.
“Poor ‘Pointer’ – his natural reaction is to knock the puck out of the air and it hits his stick and goes on the breakaway,” said Cooper. “What are the chances of that happening?”
Nashville drew first blood at 3:58 in the second period on a rush after a neutral zone turnover by the Lightning.
Ryan Johansen set up Eeli Tovanen with his sixth goal of the season by gathering the puck and firing it across the ice as Tovanen was waiting in the circle. Jarnkrok had the secondary assist on the score which was his first of the afternoon.
The Predators then went on the prowl off the power play at 9:14 in the second and were rewarded as Viktor Arvidsson netted his fourth goal of the season, in the left circle. Jarnkrok picked up his second assist of the afternoon as Erik Haula added his fifth of the season.
“The second goal – the kid fans on a pass, he gets it back makes a pass and the puck goes in the net,” said Cooper. “Give Nashville credit. They played well and defended really hard, but we had our chances.”
Steven Stamkos scored his 13th goal of the season at 10:03 in the third as he fired off the right side off a pass from Yanni Fourde. The puck went into the back of the net as it ricocheted off of Dante Fabbro’s skate. Alex Killorn joined Gourde with an assist on the Stamkos goal.
“We had more scoring chances in the first and second than we did in the third,” said Cooper. “They had a lead so they are going to protect it. We had one of our highest levels of scoring chances of the year tonight. The puck just didn’t go in.”
Rinne had a big day in goal as he stopped 38-of-39 shots.
In the first period, the Predators came out aggressive in peppering 10 first-period shots at Lightning backup goalie Curtis McElhinney.
At 19:00 in the first period, Victor Hedman had gotten around Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne on the right side of the crease which looked like it would be an easy tap in for Hedman. However, Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro blocked the puck short of the goal line to prevent a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead.
Tampa Bay winger Pat Maroon and Nashville defenseman Ben Harpur were given fight minutes for fighting at 2:56 in the first and Maroon hadn’t had enough as he and Mathieu Olivier were once again issued five minutes for fighting some three seconds into the third period.