Colton Sissons tied the game late, but Nikita Kucherov ended it in overtime as the Nashville Predators fell in their preseason finale by a 3-2 final to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Sissons and Miikka Salomaki found the back of the net for Nashville, while Pekka Rinne started his second consecutive game in net and made save after save to keep his team in the game. Power-play opportunities were plentiful for both clubs - Tampa Bay had eight chances with the man advantage and scored on two of them, while the Preds went 0-for-6 on the night.
However, 5-on-5 play was a bright spot for Nashville, leaving them something to build on with the regular season looming.
"We showed up ready to compete and ready to battle tonight and it was a whole lot better than Thursday, so we're happy with that," Sissons said. "Still some things to clean up, staying out of the penalty box being the glaring issue tonight, but we liked our game a lot better in general."
After Alex Killorn made it 1-0 Tampa Bay with a power-play strike, Salomaki was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped up in the neutral zone while shorthanded. All the Finnish forward did was tally his team-leading fourth of the preseason to even the score and further solidify his potential spot in the Preds lineup.
"He's been great, and he was the best forward tonight," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Salomaki.
The second period brought the second power-play goal of the evening for Killorn, and it looked as though it could stand as the game-winner, until Sissons converted on a masterful redirection off a Roman Josi point shot to even the score with less than four minutes in regulation.
The tying goal marked the second consecutive game the Preds evened things late, and although the overtime loss stings, the ability to come back is something that will serve the team well when it matters most.
"Those are situations you're going to see yourself in," Predators forward Austin Watson said. "It's going to happen, but to know that we can come back - we came back last year and we came back the year before - to be able to do that here in the preseason with some late goals to knot things up and give ourselves a chance is good."
From here, a few more days of practices will lead into opening night for the Predators on Thursday in Boston. And in addition to the systematic items to attend to, there's another thing on the minds as well.
"Rest up, rest the body, get rid of a few aches and pains and feel our best heading into the regular season here," Sissons said.
Video: Salomaki and Sissons tally as Preds fall in OT
Salomaki led the Preds with five shots while Josi and Matt Irwin each registered four from the backend.
Rookie center Vladislav Kamenev skated 12:10 in the loss - defenseman Samuel Girard did not appear in Saturday night's game, with a roster decision coming next week.
With the exhibition schedule now complete, the Predators will open the regular season on Thursday night in Boston, followed by a rematch next Saturday in Pittsburgh with the Penguins. It'll then be back to Nashville for the home opener and the raising of the Western Conference Champion banner on Oct. 10 against Philadelphia, a sold-out evening at Bridgestone Arena. All games can be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee and heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.