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2015-16 Top Games Countdown: No. 7

by Thomas Willis / Nashville Predators

October 20: Lightning vs. Preds

The Nashville Predators roaring open to the 2015-16 campaign continued with a comeback, shootout win over the defending Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in late October.

Nashville upped their record to 5-1-0 with their second consecutive shootout win after the club used their second, third and fourth goals to tie the contest prior to prevailing in the breakaway competition. The night belonged to James Neal and Filip Forsberg; the linemates combined for five points, including Neal's two goals, the first which tied the game at 3-3, and the second which forced overtime. Forsberg also scored the lone goal in the shootout on an inside-outside move, while Pekka Rinne stopped every shooter he faced to improve to 5-0-0 in his career versus Tampa Bay (now 5-0-1).

“We’re six games into the season and it looked like a mid-season game,” Rinne said. “There were a lot of fast guys out there and a lot of chances going both ways. They’re a really good team. They went up 4-3 in the third period and we came back, which is a huge momentum swing, but we went to OT and nothing happened there. It was a really big two points.”

Check back next weekend for Game No. 6 in our countdown!

Golden Goal:


James Neal’s run of claiming the Golden Goal of the game rolls on as the forward uses his fourth tally in two games to even the contest and force overtime.

Neal Goes for Two (Again):

Neal followed up his two-goal performance on Saturday against the Senators with more of the same at home on Tuesday. The Preds forward scored two more against the Bolts, perhaps the biggest two of the night for Nashville, including the game-tying marker with less than six minutes to play.

“He’s been really good for a few games now,” Laviolette said of Neal. “Filip Forsberg was really good tonight also. Every time that line was out there, there was the opportunity for something good to happen. They found a nice rhythm tonight.”

Perhaps just as impressive as Neal’s goal was the feed received by the winger from Forsberg, who slung a pass from the left side of the ice all the way to a waiting Neal at the right circle. The connection between the two wingers saved the game for the Preds and wasn’t half bad to watch either.

“That was a great pass,” Neal said of the play. “I thought he did a great job of hunting the puck down before the pass. He was in a race with the defenseman, won a big battle and then shot a pass over to me pretty hard. It was a great goal.”

Forsberg has been more than impressed with his linemate over the past two contests and has every intention of feeding Neal with regularity.

“He’s really working his body down low,” Forsberg said of Neal. “He’s a big guy and can really protect the puck. He’s a really good skater with a goal sense, and he’s got a really good shot, so I just try to find him as much as I can.”

Gif of the Game:

 

Swedish winger Filip Forsberg fakes out the Bolts Ben Bishop and roofs the puck for the shootout winner.

Quotables:

“That’s why they were in the Stanley Cup Final last year; they play a quick game and they have some really skilled players,” Neal said. “At times we were in our own end, but I thought we did a great job of defending and turning that into offense. Pekka was unbelievable all night. [He was] making big save after big save. I guess we kind of have come to expect that out of him, but he’s a warrior. He battles every night and he loves it that way… so good for him.”

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