Bolts get full team effort in win over Nashville

Missy Zielinski  - Lightning Beat Reporter | Friday, 09.20.2013 / 12:38 AM

TAMPA, Fl. – It was a different team and a different story as the Tampa Bay Lightning offense methodically worked the Nashville Predators to a 4-0 deficit en route to a 5-1 win Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Brett Connolly tallied the first goal of the game. Less than two minutes later, Ondrej Palat added his first goal of the preseason to make the score 2-0.

Steven Stamkos and Connolly would find the back of the net again in the second to extend the lead to 4-0. Nashville forward Matt Cullen managed to break up the Lightning bid for a shutout after more than 40 minutes of play with the lone Predators goal.

Richard Panik finished the scoring when he capitalized on a third-period Tampa Bay power-play opportunity to regain the Bolts four-goal lead.

Making an offensive statement sooner rather than later in tonight's game, Connolly skated down the slot toward netminder Carter Hutton and managed to backhand a shot over his right shoulder and into the net for the first tally of the game at 5:41 of the opening period. Victor Hedman and Stamkos were credited with the helpers on the play.  

"The puck bounced and I was fortunate to get the puck under me on the first one and the second one too," Connolly said.

"Connolly had a couple nice goals and it was nice to see him get on the board," Stamkos added. "He's playing with some confidence. We saw him score a couple goals in the scrimmage, now he has two tonight. He's a guy we expect a lot from. He's really proven himself over the last couple years. He played in the minors last year and built his way back up and it's nice to see him get rewarded."

Less than two minutes after Connolly's initial goal, the Lightning quickly doubled the score to 2-0 after Palat carried the puck down the left side of the offensive zone and deked out Hutton and slipped the puck behind him stickside.

In the second frame, prospect Luke Witkowski dished the puck to the right corner for Ryan Malone, who quickly passed the puck to Stamkos. Positioned perfectly in front of the net, Stamkos completed the play and increased the Lightning's lead by three.

Again, Connolly came into play with under two minutes remaining in the second as he secured his second goal of the game going five-hole on Hutton from the right faceoff circle.

Nashville broke the shutout bid early in the third when Cullen caught a bad pass from netminder Desjardins, who was attempting to clear the puck behind the net. Instead, Cullen intercepted the puck and banked the shorthanded goal in the empty net with Desjardins out of position.

Panik's power-play goal for Tampa Bay just minutes later brought the Predators back to a four-goal deficit and the eventual 5-1 final with Nikita Kucherov and Matt Taormina notching the assists.

UP NEXT: The Lightning will play their third game in as many nights tomorrow as they head to St. Louis to play the Blues for the second time this preseason. The game is slated for 8:00 p.m. at Scottrade Center.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
05:41TBL Brett Connolly (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Victor Hedman (1) 1 - 0 TBL
06:51TBL Ondrej Palat (1) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE 2 - 0 TBL
2nd Period
06:44TBL Steven Stamkos (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Ryan Malone (1), Luke Witkowski (1) 3 - 0 TBL
18:41TBL Brett Connolly (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Victor Hedman (2), Andrej Sustr (1) 4 - 0 TBL
3rd Period
00:46NSH SHG - Matt Cullen (1) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE 4 - 1 TBL
02:03TBL PPG - Richard Panik (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Nikita Kucherov (1), Matt Taormina (1) 5 - 1 TBL
Three Stars of the Game
Brett Connolly
Brett Connolly
G: 2Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 14:57
Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 4
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 21:16
Victor Hedman
Victor Hedman
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 23:42
Penalty Summary
1st Period
15:44TBL Luke Witkowski  Hi-sticking  - 2 min against  Austin Watson
2nd Period
11:00NSH Shea Weber  Tripping  - 2 min against  Ryan Malone
16:50NSH Shea Weber  Hooking  - 2 min against  Tanner Richard
16:50TBL Tanner Richard  Hi-sticking  - 2 min against  Shea Weber
3rd Period
00:31NSH Mike Fisher  Tripping  - 2 min against  Ryan Malone
05:52TBL  Elbowing  - 2 min against  Colin Wilson
09:23TBL Nikita Kucherov  Holding  - 2 min against  Filip Forsberg
11:38TBL Geoff Walker  Too many men/ice - bench  - 2 min
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/41/2
Faceoff Wins2428
Blocked Shots109
Penalty Minutes610
3S. JonesD00-12021:31
6S. WeberD00-12420:49
7M. CullenC1002015:39
8K. KleinD0004021:20
9F. ForsbergL00-15015:15
12M. FisherC00-13218:37
18K. HendersonL000009:50
21S. MoserC0001014:07
24E. NystromL00-22018:26
25V. StalbergL00-21015:49
29M. Van GuilderC0002012:34
33C. WilsonL00-12015:33
41T. BeckL00-10015:10
42M. EkholmD0001024:31
46J. JarvinenD00-21014:01
52A. WatsonL00-12013:00
76Z. BudishR0000012:09
83A. BitettoD00-22016:07
30C. Hutton1317.76540:00
39M. Mazanec34.75020:00
3K. AulieD0010016:42
9T. JohnsonC0001015:40
12R. MaloneL0123017:22
14B. ConnollyR2032014:57
27J. DrouinL0001012:23
38T. RichardC0000211:00
53L. WitkowskiD0120218:37
55M. TaorminaD0111020:13
56N. KucherovR01-10211:45
58G. WalkerR0002013:12
60J. CoteD0010217:38
62A. SustrD0102020:37
65V. NamestnikovC0000012:20
71R. PanikL1011015:04
74O. PalatL1003014:49
76P. LabrieL0001013:00
77V. HedmanD0221023:42
91S. StamkosC1023021:16
31C. Desjardins1617.94129:00
35R. Helenius15151.00030:43