Poor play and a major penalty doomed the hopes of the Nashville Predators against the Sabres. Now, they need to come back to life in Tampa.
Last night was filled with hope and excitement. An amazing prospected started. A win would place the Nashville Predators a step closer to history. However, it was not to be. The Buffalo Sabres blew out the brief candle and the Predators played like idiots. The night was filled with sound and fury, yet signifying nothing in the end.
The Predators had their chances but looked out of sync all evening. Goals for P.K. Subban, Austin Watson, Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino gave the team a 4-3 lead. However, Pekka Rinne was not playing his best, nor was the Predators’ penalty kill. Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly tallied a power-play goal early in the second period to draw his team closer. Then, the bottom fell out for Nashville.
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Scott Hartnell was called for a major penalty, boarding Victor Antipin, who laid motionless on the ice for a while. Antipin was taken off the ice by stretcher. The energy was sucked out of the building and the Sabres drew their sticks. With a full five minutes of a man-advantage, the Sabres scored three goals. It doomed the Predators to their ninth loss in regulation at home this season. Interesting that seven of those came against non-playoff teams.
Viktor Arvidsson was also injured during the game last night. While he attempted to return to the ice, he left later in the second period and did not play again. There is no word on what the injury might be, but Arvidsson did travel with the team to Tampa.
Now, the focus is on playing the Lightning. Once the leaders of the NHL, Tampa Bay has gone 5-5-0 in their last 10 games, including a home loss to Arizona. They now sit second in the Atlantic Division. While their offense remains steady, the play of Andrei Vasilevskiy has dropped. He is 2-4 in his last six games, allowing less than 3 goals only once.
The Lightning have eight players with 40 or more points, five with more than 60. They are led by Nikita Kucherov who has 38 goals and 59 assists. Defensemen Victor Hedman is fifth on the team with 15 goals and 45 assists.
As for the Nashville Predators, there are many questions regarding their lineup tonight. Hartnell will serve a game misconduct, leaving a hole in the fourth line. Filip Forsberg missed last nights game as a healthy scratch, but we do not know if Arvidsson will play. Eeli Tolvanen may be asked to play back-to-back games in his first NHL stint.
Additionally, both Rinne and Juuse Saros both played last night, so either could start the game this evening.
Where to watch
Tonight’s game from Tampa will begin at 5:00 p.m. Central time, and broadcast on Fox Sports Tennessee. Pregame will begin at 4:30. The game can be viewed on the Fox Sports Go app on your mobile device. And, it will be radio broadcast on 102.5 The Game.