The final score of Thursday’s game was not indicative of another never-say-die effort by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Steven Stamkos scored twice and Marc-Andre Bergeron added two assists to help the Bolts climb out of an early two-goal deficit for the second consecutive game, but this time in a 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night.
Teddy Purcell also had a goal and an assist for two points for Tampa Bay, which saw its three-game win streak come to an end.
“We didn’t want to look at how many we had won in the past, we just wanted to focus on the start of tonight’s game,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “We knew tonight would be tough.”
Nashville, which entering Thursday night had scored more than two goals just twice all season, got a pair of scores from Mike Fisher.
Fisher’s second of the night at 12:10 of the middle frame capped a three-goal flurry by the Predators, while also chasing Lightning net minder Mathieu Garon from the game. He was replaced by Dwayne Roloson who stopped all 10 shots he faced.
The two-goal effort from the Predators forward, though, proved to be a continuation of what Nashville had started earlier to open the contest.
Sergei Kostitsyn notched the game’s first goal just 6:25 in, and Fisher doubled the lead less than eight minutes earlier.
After Stamkos cut the deifict to one with less than four minutes to play in the first, and following Purcell’s power-play goal which tied things up at two with 27 seconds left in the opening stanza, it appeared Garon might settle down much like he did two nights earlier in Buffalo when the Sabres also went up 2-0 early on before eventually falling to the Lightning by a 4-3 score.
Instead, three unanswered goals by Nashville to start the second frame helped the Predators pull away with the better part of a period and half still to play.
First, Patric Hornqvist put Nashville up by one after a screen in front appeared to have interfered with Garon, but upon no official review from the referee, the goal stood.
Then, 3:37 later, Nick Spaling outmuscled Steve Downie for the puck in front of the Lightning net, and with Garon down, put one into an open net for a 4-2 lead at 11:20.
Nashville’s fifth and final goal of the game came when Fisher banked one off the post and in to make it 5-2.
Garon was pulled after giving up five goals on 17 shots.
“We really did a good job of using our speed to get pucks out and into their zone,” Fisher said.
The win gave the Predators their first win at home in the team’s fourth attempt.
Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne finished the night with 29 saves, but faced more attempts down at his own end after Tampa Bay held a 32-27 advantage in shots throughout the game.
Stamkos beat Rinne to make it 5-3 with three minutes to go in regulation.
“They’re physical, they work hard, and we knew that if we started late like we did last game it was going to hurt us,” Boucher added.