The Nashville Predators hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning in preseason action. Back in Bridgestone Arena, the Predators hoped to provide fans with something to be excited about.
The third preseason game for the Nashville Predators took place Friday night. Tampa Bay came into Bridgestone having lost their first two preseason matches with the Carolina Hurricanes by a combined 10-2 scoreline. The Predators, in contrast, returned to Smashville after destroying the Florida Panthers with a combined score of 10-3 in their first two preseason bouts.
A poor start
Fortunes for both teams turned 180 degrees once the puck dropped, however. The 1st period wasn’t one the Predators will want to replicate. Ten minutes into the 1st Period, the Predators already trailed 3-0.
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At 7:18 of the 1st, Adam Erne potted the game’s first goal. Then, less than two minutes later, Erne tallied another. This one came at 9:06 in the period.
As the Predators were starting to get their minds around the 2-0 hole they found themselves in, Boris Katchouk found the back of the net, merely 18 seconds after Erne’s 2nd. It was Katchouk’s 2nd goal of the preseason.
The Predators ended the opening period with 13 shots on goal (4 from Craig Smith), but were 0/2 of the Power Play and lost 64% of their face-offs. All 3 Tampa Bay goals came with Zac RInaldo, Fredrick Gaudreau and Connor Brickley as the forwards on the ice.
Improvement after the first break
Eight and a half minutes into the 2nd period, Roman Josi pulled the Predators back within 2 goals, scoring from just outside the circle on the Predators’ fourth power play of the night off a P.K Subban assist. However, less than one minute later, Tampa Bay answered. This time Andy Andreoff put the puck behind Pekka Rinne.
The Predators extended their shots on goal lead 27 to 17 and caught up a bit on face-offs (44% win pct, up from 36% in the 1st period) but the deficit remained three goals to the Lightning after 40 minutes of play.
Frustration in the third period
Troy Grosenick took over for Pekka Rinne in net to begin the final period. He stopped all 8 shots he faced, but there wasn’t a whole lot to report from this period. Craig Smith did have his first NHL fight in this period, however, encapsulating what was a frustrating night for the Nashville hockey club. Dominik Masin would add a 5th goal for Tampa Bay on an empty Nashville net with just under three minutes left to play.
The team put a total of 39 shots on net, but could only find the twine once. Craig Smith led all Predators (and all skaters) with six shots on goal, while Roman Josi was next with five. Josi was the lone goal-scorer for the Predators, who also had 10 shots blocked on the night. Nashville rebounded from an awful start in the face-off circle to end the game with a face-off win percentage of 47%.
The Predators face the Lightning again on Saturday night. That game will be in Tampa Bay.