GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (27-17-6-3) at Nashville Predators (26-19-6-2).
TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.
A pair of teams that just had their respective runs of success ended meet as
the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Nashville Predators.
Tampa Bay had its franchise record-tying, six-game winning streak snapped in
a 2-1 road loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
Nashville, meanwhile, lost 4-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday to end
its 11-game home unbeaten streak, which tied a franchise high.
The Lightning's streak enabled them to open up a 13-point lead in the
Southeast Division, but after the loss Tuesday, coach John Tortorella sounded
as if his team was in last place.
Asked if the law of averages caught up with his team, Tortorella angrily
shot back: "No. Not at all. The law of averages says you'd be a .500 hockey
team, so you play the game to win every night.
"Back-to-back, how many games, how many you've won, it doesn't matter. This
isn't a feel-good thing. We won a few games and you feel good about it, so you
lose one and it's OK. It isn't OK."
Prior to Tuesday's defeat, Nashville hadn't lost at home since a 2-1
overtime defeat against the Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 16. The Predators' last
regulation loss at Gaylord Entertainment Center was a 4-1 defeat to the Los
Angeles Kings on Dec. 11.
Nashville had a chance to pull within six points of first-place Detroit in
the Central Division, but the Red Wings scored three goals in the first 6:17 of
the second period to pull away.
Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun had been 6-1 in his previous seven starts, and
a victory would have tied his career high of 25 victories set last season. But
he was pulled after facing just 11 shots.
"I felt pretty good in the first period," Vokoun said. "They got a couple
quick goals, then I was scrambling. You try to do everything perfectly, and
that is when you run into trouble."