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game recap

Predators 7, Lightning 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Predators 7, Lightning 4
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Nashville Predators 7

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz had reasons to worry that his club might not be ready to face the speedy Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Predators were playing their second game in two nights and their third in four days. For the first 20 minutes Tuesday night, it appeared Trotz might be right.

After shaking off a sluggish beginning, the Predators scored five times in the second period and went on to a 7-4 victory.

"I was worried about this being a trap game," Trotz said. "We got off to a little bit of a slow start. A lot of credit goes to the whole group because when you play two games back-to-back sometimes it can be real taxing this time of the year."

It was the most goals scored by the Predators in a game this season. They beat Ottawa 6-5 on Oct. 22.

"It was a little bit wide open," Trotz said. "I thought both sides got some easy goals. The score was a little higher than we usually have."

Trotz had also warned his team not to be caught off-guard by the Lightning's quickness. That speed made a difference in the first period when Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead.

"One of the things I said in our meeting was to be aware and not surprised," Trotz said. "They have great forwards. They are a quick team. Guys like Marty St. Louis have great speed, and Steve Stamkos is a great young player.

"When our legs weren't moving in the first they looked real fast. We got our legs moving in the second and they didn't look as fast."

The Predators had points from 14 players. David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist, and Joel Ward and Marcel Goc each had two assists.

"Everyone is a lot more upbeat," Ward said. "We have more jump. We are getting more goals from different guys each night. We have to keep that ball rolling."

Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and an assist to lead Tampa Bay.

Jerred Smithson gave Nashville a 1-0 lead 6:53 into the first period. Legwand's wraparound shot was blocked, and Smithson gained control of the puck in traffic in the crease. He put a rebound past goalie Antero Niittymaki.

Stamkos tied it less than 5 minutes later when he skated by Shea Weber and then had the puck slip off his stick into the net. He got the puck between the pads of Nashville's Pekka Rinne at 11:35.

Lecavalier struck on the power play with 3:30 left in the period to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead. Foster passed the puck to Lecavalier just above the right circle for a slap shot that beat Rinne to his glove side.

The Predators scored twice in the first 3 minutes to go ahead. Legwand's goal from in front at 1:12 tied it, and Ryan Jones put in a missed shot by Nick Spaling 1:45 later to make it 3-2.

Hornqvist's goal at 12:22 prompted Lightning coach Rick Tocchet to pull Niittymaki and replace him with Mike Smith. But Smith didn't fare any better as he allowed J.P. Dumont's goal 28 seconds after he entered.

"I thought in the second we played hard," Tocchet said. "It was a tough night for the goalies. We didn't clear the front of the net, but I thought overall the guys really worked hard.

"The effort was hard. That is what I saw. I really enjoyed watching the effort. There were some goals there because we weren't clearing the front of the net. I'm sure Smitty and Niitty wish they had a couple back."

Dan Hamhuis capped off the second-period outburst with a slap shot from a few feet inside the blue line with 3:51 remaining to put the Predators ahead 6-2.

Kurtis Foster cut the Lightning's deficit to three goals 1:52 into the third period with a power-play tally. Lecavalier made it 6-4 at 12:20.

Nashville's Martin Erat finished the scoring with 6:13 left.

"I give Tampa Bay a lot of credit," Trotz said. "They have a lot of pride. They came back and really pushed the pace in the third period.

"Teams have to play hard for 60 minutes. You can't defend like you used to do it. You can't stack the blue line and hook and hold."

NOTES: Jones has a goal in his last three games. ... Niittymaki had allowed four goals in a game four times this season, and twice in three days. Dumont hadn't scored since Nov. 28. ... Spaling, in his first game since being recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL, earned his first assist and first career NHL point. ... The Predators are 11-0 this season when Ward registers a point.

scoring summary
1st Period
06:53
NSH
Jerred Smithson (5) ASST: David Legwand (13), Joel Ward (8)
1 - 0 NSH
11:35
TBL
Steven Stamkos (18) ASST: Ryan Malone (12), Mattias Ohlund (7)
1 - 1 Tie
16:30
TBL
PPG - Vincent Lecavalier (7) ASST: Kurtis Foster (4), Martin St. Louis (28)
2 - 1 TBL
2nd Period
01:12
NSH
David Legwand (7) ASST: Joel Ward (9)
2 - 2 Tie
02:57
NSH
Ryan Jones (3) ASST: Nick Spaling (1), Shea Weber (12)
3 - 2 NSH
12:22
NSH
Patric Hornqvist (8) ASST: Marcel Goc (3)
4 - 2 NSH
12:50
NSH
J-P Dumont (6) ASST: Patric Hornqvist (6)
5 - 2 NSH
16:09
NSH
Dan Hamhuis (3) ASST: Ryan Suter (14), Marcel Goc (4)
6 - 2 NSH
3rd Period
01:52
TBL
PPG - Kurtis Foster (4) ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (21), Martin St. Louis (29)
6 - 3 NSH
12:20
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (8) ASST: Andrej Meszaros (5)
6 - 4 NSH
13:47
NSH
Martin Erat (11) ASST: Steve Sullivan (14), Jason Arnott (10)
7 - 4 NSH
penalty summary
1st Period
14:30
NSH
Jerred Smithson  Cross checking against  Mattias Ohlund
16:04
NSH
Ryan Suter  Hi-sticking against  Martin St. Louis
2nd Period
04:32
TBL
Matt Walker  Boarding against  David Legwand
06:17
NSH
Jason Arnott  Hooking against  Stephane Veilleux
13:39
NSH
Shea Weber  Fighting (maj) against  Steve Downie
13:39
TBL
Steve Downie  Fighting (maj) against  Shea Weber
18:10
TBL
Stephane Veilleux  Fighting (maj) against  Kevin Klein
18:10
NSH
Kevin Klein  Fighting (maj) against  Stephane Veilleux
3rd Period
00:53
NSH
Jerred Smithson  Roughing against  Ryan Malone
00:53
NSH
Jerred Smithson  Fighting (maj) against  Ryan Malone
00:53
TBL
Ryan Malone  Fighting (maj) against  Jerred Smithson
05:46
TBL
Victor Hedman  Boarding against  Ryan Jones
20:00
TBL
Steven Stamkos  Hooking against  Nick Spaling
goalie stats
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 14TOI: 32:22
Saves: 10EV: 10 - 14
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .714SH: 0 - 0
Mike Smith
SA: 13TOI: 27:38
Saves: 10EV: 7 - 10
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .769SH: 0 - 0
Pekka Rinne
SA: 34TOI: 60:00
Saves: 30EV: 28 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 4
SV%: .882SH: 0 - 0