Consider Tuesday’s loss at Nashville a moral victory, for a lot went right for the Lightning at the Sommet Center.
But the valiant effort was not enough to pick up their first win on their current six-game road trip, falling to the Predators 7-4.
The Predators received goals from seven different players including Jerred Smithson, David Legwand and Ryan Jones just one night after getting three from Steve Sullivan alone in Monday’s 5-3 win at Columbus.
Patric Hornqvist, J.P. Dumont, Dan Hamhuis and Martin Erat also scored for Nashville.
The Predators took a 1-0 lead thanks to Smithson, who tapped in a second chance rebound effort in front of the net at 6:53 in the first as a Lightning clearing attempt was held in along the boards.
Stamkos, the Lightning’s leading goal scorer who entered the contest tied for fifth in the NHL in goals, knotted the game at one with his 18th of the season at 11:35, which was his first since Nov. 28 at Dallas.
“He’s playing with a lot more puck poise and a he’s a lot more aggressive with the puck,” Lightning associate coach Rick Wilson said. “That was a tremendous individual effort by him.”
Lecavalier increased Tampa Bay’s lead as the final seconds of a 5-on-3 power play expired, ending a 0-13 power play skid that put the Bolts up 2-1 heading into the middle frame.
“We want more pucks at the front of the net,” Wilson added. “The power play unit moved it around, stayed patient with it, and we were rewarded with it, as well.”
After the Lightning scored two unanswered goals to end the first period, the Predators returned the favor with a pair of their own consecutive netters to open the second.
Legwand scored the game-tying goal 72 seconds into the period before winger Ryan Jones tallied the go-ahead mark nearly two minutes later at 2:57.
Hornqvist made it 4-2 Nashville after a tie-up off the faceoff in which the puck bounced into the slot before the Predators forward whacked it into the net past Bolts goaltender Antero Niittymaki.
Before the goal could be announced, just 28 seconds after Mike Smith relieved Niittymaki of goaltending duties, Hornqvist fed a pass to Dumont who increased the Predators lead by three with his sixth goal of the season before Hamhuis made it 6-2 at 16:09 heading into the third and final period.
The back-and-forth scoring continued, as Foster improved the Bolts power play with the second of two goals with the man advantage on the night, striking the back of the net to open the third and cut the deficit to three with his fourth goal of the season which leads all Lightning defensemen.
Tampa Bay wasn’t finished yet.
The Lightning captain recorded his second goal, and third point on the night, after converting on a breakaway in which he beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne to make the score 6-4 at 12:20.
But as soon as the Bolts came back, Nashville did too.
Erat tallied the game’s 11th goal, clinching the win, which was Nashville’s first over Tampa Bay since 2003.
Lecavalier was honored as the game’s third star, while teammate Steve Downie left the game early with an upper body injury.
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