Nashville Predators Almost Pull Off a Miracle in Tampa Bay

Nashville Predators right-wing Mathieu Olivier (25) is congratulated as he scores a goal during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators right-wing Mathieu Olivier (25) is congratulated as he scores a goal during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

For the first game of a four-game road trip, the Nashville Predators faced a tough Tampa Bay Lightning team looking for redemption after two straight losses.

The Predators headed into this game with some momentum with back-to-back wins against the Chicago Blackhawks. It wouldn’t be enough to carry them to the end.

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Once again, ill-advised penalties and a lazy second period handed a win to an opponent the Predators were capable of beating or at least coming out of the game with a point in the standings.

How It All Went Down

In what may have been one of the best first periods of the season, the Predators pressured the Lightning and went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Ryan Ellis.

And then the wheels fell off. Multiple penalties by the Predators resulted in several goals for the opportunistic Lightning in the second period.

Two even-strength goals and two power-play goals by the lightning made the score 4-1 in the blink of an eye. Just when you thought the Predators had turned a corner, the bad penalties crept back into their game in a big way.

The onslaught of the second period ended with a Mark Borowiecki/Pat Maroon undercard. In addition to five minutes for fighting, Borowiecki also got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty putting Tampa Bay back on the power-play.

An ill-advised roughing penalty by Matt Benning gave the Lightning a 5-on-3 man advantage. The period ended with the Lightning with the remainder of their power-play at the beginning of the third period.

Nashville Predators turn up the heat

There was a prize fight in the third period, and a hockey game broke out.

In the middleweight bout of the night, young Dante Fabbro brought the heat to Yanni Gourde, with Fabbro getting the upper hand. Borowiecki and Maroon revisited their earlier altercation, which resulted in both players drawing a misconduct.

A battle royal also broke out between both teams after a missed high stick call hit Mathieu Olivier in the face. Needless to say, this matchup is becoming a good rivalry, and Monday’s contest should be interesting.

With the Predators on the power-play, Olivier scored his first NHL goal on a good cleanup shot from a Ryan Johansen wrister. I like what Olivier brings to this team. He fought his way onto the Predators’ roster, and he deserves to stay there.

Here’s a look a Olivier during the game, per Justin Bradford of PenaltyBoxRadio:

With under two minutes to play, a 4-2 score, and an empty net for Nashville, Viktor Arvidsson took a behind the net pass from Mikael Granlund and buried the puck to make the score 4-3.

The Predators got control of the puck on the ensuing faceoff and went on the attack with an extra man. Matt Duchene had an excellent look at the goal in close but hit the post on his shot. Final score Lightning 4, Predators 3.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

The Predators gifted this game to the Lightning. Foolish penalties and lackadaisical play in the second period cost the Predators yet again.

I am not really sure why the Predators are unable to string a full sixty-minute game together. We saw this same scenario play out several times last season, and it is happening again.

The Predators did precisely what you can’t do against a team like Tampa Bay. Nashville made several mistakes, and the Lightning capitalized, simple as that.

This Predators team is on the brink of doing some great things this season. As evidenced by tonight’s performance in the first and third periods, they can win games against prominent opponents.

To utilize an over-used term, this game has to be a “wake-up call” for the Predators. They showed some fight, which is long overdue, and they showed some determination by almost tying the game.

The Predators will get another shot at the Lightning on Monday. Hopefully, we will see them start to play up to their capabilities. If they can get a few things ironed out, they will be a dangerous team.

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