|TBL||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|NSH||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
Alexander Radulov extended his scoring streak to eight straight games, but it was not enough as the Predators dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at the Sommet Center. The Predators, fighting a case of the flu cycling through the team locker room, finished its four game homestand with a 3-0-1 record to improve to 28-21-6 on the season, good for a tie for seventh place in the conference.
|Highlights: Tampa Bay 2, Predators 1 (OT)|
Vaclav Prospal scored 58 seconds into overtime to win the game for the Lightning. The Predators had an opportunity to clear the zone seconds earlier, but Prospal created a turnover in the right wing faceoff circle. He passed the puck to Brad Richards on the opposite wing. Richards waited for a screen to develop in front of Predators goaltender Dan Ellis and took the initial shot. Ellis made the save, but Prospal was at the edge of the goal crease to push home the rebound.
Ellis finished the game with 23 saves, many with traffic in front of the net, to pick up a point for his fourth consecutive decision (two wins and two overtime decisions).
The Predators converted a turnover deep in their offensive zone into the game's first goal 12:37 into the game. The Lightning lost control of the puck by the left post. J.P. Dumont tried to jam the puck into the net, but was turned aside by netminder Johan Holmqvist. Dumont pushed the rebound behind the net to Jason Arnott in the corner. Arnott whipped a pass to Radulov alone in the slot for a snap shot over Holmqvist's shoulder for his team-leading 21st goal of the season.
Arnott had an opportunity to extend the lead to 2-0 with 4:20 remaining in the first period. Dumont snapped a shot on net and Holmqvist gave up a big rebound out the back side of the play. Arnott won the race to the puck but missed the net wide.
The Lightning controlled the play in the second period, out shooting the Predators 12-2 in frame. Dan Ellis held strong, making several quality saves, but Tampa Bay was able to break through at the 13:09 mark of the middle frame. Vincent Lecavalier took the initial shot from the right point with Martin St. Louis cutting across the top of the goal crease as a distraction. Ellis fully extended into a split to make a toe save, but St. Louis was able to push the puck to Brad Richards to convert the rebound.
Midway through the third period, the teams traded opportunities. The Lightning sustained pressure in the Nashville zone for over a minute, after the Predators were able to clear the puck a turnover by Tampa Bay allowed Nashville to keep the puck deep in the offensive zone and Martin Gelinas carried the play out of the corner and flipped a shot which caught Holmqvist in the shoulder and mask.
Gelinas nearly created another scoring chance while the Preds were shorthanded, but he was hooked down by Dan Boyle to prevent a breakaway with 5:05 remaining in regulation.
Predators forward Martin Erat left the game midway through the second period due to back spasms and did not return ... Nashville is 10-3-4 overall and 7-1-2 at home since January 1 ... The Predators are 5-2-1 against Eastern Conference teams this season ... Nashville has held opponents to two goals or fewer in 12 of the 17 games since Jan. 1, including all four games of the just completed homestand ... The Predators have gone to overtime in three of the last four games started by Ellis. Ellis has posted a 2-0-2 record with a 1.44 goals against average and .954 save percentage in those last four starts ... Radulov has 14 goals in the 21 games since Christmas.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the battle of the lines tonight… "Their line is good and strong and if you add up the points by the trio from Tampa Bay, it’s as good as it gets. They were good and we had to use two lines tonight to check them for the most part. They were just tough all night.
On the style of the game tonight… "We’re going to see a lot of close games and it’s going to be a lot of one-goal games as well. I didn’t think we brought our best effort tonight, but I don’t want to take anything away from Tampa Bay, they had a lot of urgency in their game and they found a way to take it into overtime. I feel fortunate we even got the one point because in the second period they just dominated. We lost our pace, flow, urgency, execution and alertness and that happens sometimes but it can’t happen very often. We had a good stretch of games here but we weren’t on our game tonight."
On Martin Erat… "He just has a back injury and it just got twisted up, but he’ll be fine. We decided to take him out as a precautionary to prevent anything further from developing since we have a lot of games coming up and we’ll be traveling to the West Coast. He won’t be practicing tomorrow but will be fine for next week."
Goaltender Dan Ellis
On tonight’s game… "We expect that this is the way games are going to be played through this stretch drive. Every point is important. We were fortunate to get one point tonight; we would have liked to have two. We played a couple good games and we just have to get back to playing the way we were when we were winning."
On the final goal… "It was a situation where they found a loose puck and they passed it across to Brad Richards. The puck was bouncing, he had to wait for it to settle down and he took a shot. It was fluttering around and it was hard to get control of it. It hit my chest and went down. It was bouncing again and they were just able to whack the rebound in."
On playing against Tampa Bay’s top line… "They definitely have great chemistry together. They play really well together and they all have a lot of points. They’ve had a lot of success in this league. They’ve been playing together for a number of years and won the Stanley Cup together. They know where each other are and they know each other like the backs of their hands. We did a pretty good job tonight shutting those guys down for the most part but they were able to get a couple of points."
Defenseman Greg Zanon
On Tampa’s game-winning goal… "It was an unfortunate bounce. Ellis thought he had it, then it hit me in front and I didn’t know where it was until I turned and it was right on his stick and he’s got the open net. He just snuck it in. We did a good job most of the time tonight. It was unfortunate in overtime that they got that lucky one off Ellis’ chest. He played a great game for us tonight. He gave us a chance to win when we didn’t have our best tonight. We can’t afford to do that."
On the type of games he expects to see from now on… "They are going to be one- and two-goal games if we get lucky. We just have to have the mentality that we are going to win one to nothing. We need to play solid in our own zone and let our boys take care of it when they get opportunities up front."
Defenseman Shea Weber
On the type of games he expects to see from now on… "It’s going to be a battle right through to the end of the year. It’s a playoff race and we can’t afford to give up points."
On how to bounce back from this game… "We just have to stick with what we’ve been doing right. We were playing well there over the last little while and I think very solid. We just need to forget about tonight. We did some good things and some bad things. We just need to refresh and get ready for the next game."
|Alexander Radulov (21) ASST: Jason Arnott (30), J-P Dumont (28)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Brad Richards (17) ASST: Martin St. Louis (46), Vincent Lecavalier (40)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Vinny Prospal (23) ASST: Brad Richards (30), Dan Boyle (5)|
2 - 1 TBL
|Shane O'Brien Hi-sticking against Darcy Hordichuk|
|Rich Peverley Hi-sticking against Brad Lukowich|
|Dan Boyle Hooking against Martin Gelinas|
|SA: 19||TOI: 60:58|
|Saves: 18||EV: 17 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .947||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 25||TOI: 60:50|
|Saves: 23||EV: 23 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 0|
|SV%: .920||SH: 0 - 0|