The Nashville Predators downed the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road 4-1. Nashville is now 6-0-0 on the road and currently sits at the top of the league with 20 points.
Nashville Key Stats
Lightning Key Stats
An absolutely marvelous tip from Turris gave Nashville the early lead- fighting off Braydon Coburn in front of the net, his stick somehow found the puck. Nearing the end of the first period, Josi buried his third goal of the year from Johansen’s incredible feed. Shot totals were in favor of Nashville 15-13.
Tampa Bay came out storming in the second period, registering 17 shots while only allowing four. Koekkoek finally broke through after Pekka Rinne had turned 25 shots away. The Predators were completely contained and were tested defensively all period.
The Lightning continued their relentless pursuit in the third period. Nashville responded by forcing more turnovers in the neutral zone but were ultimately outskated and outrushed by Tampa Bay. Johansen finally broke out with Jarnkrok, slipped the puck through Anton Stralman, and Jarnkrok took the wind out of the Lightning’s sails. Salomaki tapped the puck into the empty net a minute later, and the Predators escaped with two points.
The score was not reflective in how the Predators played. The Lightning were without Victor Hedman, one of their best defensemen, and still managed to pin the Predators in their own zone. It took a complete defensive effort to keep the puck out of the net, but no one shined more than Pekka Rinne.
Rinne faced 43 shots, the most the Predators had given up to any team thus far. Nashville spent the majority of the game in the defensive zone, but Rinne stood strong.
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Johansen couldn’t have set Josi and Jarnkrok up better. His cross-ice backhand that set Josi up left all of us, including Ryan Ellis, saying “Wow.” He won 17 of the 23 faceoffs and was the offensive spark.
Jarnkrok, Hartman, Josi, and Turris have each collected three points through two games, and Kevin Fiala has picked up two points. Nashville is still waiting on Nick Bonino and Ryan Ellis to net their first goals of the year, but the other lines and some defensemen are starting to heat up.
Viktor Arvidsson and Zac Rinaldo missed the contest with day-to-day injuries. Arvidsson has recently been a crucial part of the Predators’ success lately with at least one point in last five games.
Nashville hosts Boston this Saturday back in Bridgestone Arena- another challenge for the Predators, Boston is off to a 7-3-2 start with 16 points.
Also, it’d be really funny if all of Salomaki’s goals this year were empty-netters.
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators