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Lightning fall 5-4 to Nashville in OT

Tampa Bay splits the back-to-back vs. the Predators

by Bryan Burns /

The Tampa Bay Lightning were 3.4 seconds away from earning their second-straight preseason victory and leveling their record at 2-2.

Matt Duchene, making his Nashville Predators debut, had other ideas.

Duchene, who signed an eight-year free agent deal with the Predators during the offseason, took Viktor Arvidsson's cross-ice pass in the closing seconds and one-timed a shot from the right dot past Lightning goaltender Scott Wedgewood to level the score 4-4 and snatch victory from the Bolts.

In overtime, Rem Pitlick stole the puck off the stick of Luke Witkowski deep in the Lightning zone and lifted a shot over Wedgewood to cap off the 5-4 comeback win for the Predators.

Tampa Bay drops to 1-2-1 this preseason. The Lightning are off until Tuesday, when they will take on the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center, the first of five-straight games against the Panthers, three to close out the preseason and two to start the regular season.

Tampa Bay held the lead on three separate occasions against Nashville but couldn't close the deal. After Cameron Gaunce tied the score 1-1, Carter Verhaeghe netted the first of his two goals, Anthony Cirelli forcing a turnover deep in Nashville territory and Verhaeghe sweeping up at the net to give the Lightning their first lead, a 2-1 advantage at 9:18 of the second period.

Nashville answered a little less than three minutes later, but Erik Cernak pushed the Lightning back into the lead 3-2 at 4:32 of the third period, the Slovakian defenseman carrying the puck through the zone and behind the net before turning a shooting from a sharp angle at the goal line past Preds goalie Pekka Rinne.

Again, Nashville clawed back, Arvidsson evening the game on the power play with 6:28 remaining.

Verhaeghe thought he'd scored the game winner with 5:42 left, putting the Lightning back in front 4-3 after leading the rush into the zone crossing over at the top of the circles and firing a wrister past Rinne.

Duchene's last-gasp effort gave the Predators new life, and Pitlick forced the turnover to win it in overtime.

Verhaeghe (2 goals) and Gaunce (goal, assist) each finished with multiple points. Gaunce was a game-high plus-3. Mathieu Joseph, Cal Foote, Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Cirelli all had assists for the Bolts.

Scott Wedgewood stopped 39-of-44 shots in a losing effort. A veteran-laden Nashville lineup outshot Tampa Bay 44-21. The Predators went 2-for-5 on the power-play and scored the game-tying goal with an extra attacker. The Lightning were 0-of-2 with the man-advantage.

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