The shot total wasn't there for the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, but the goals were.
Nashville tallied four times on their first eight shots, and Colton Sissons recorded his first career hat trick to help lead the Preds to a season sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 6-1 victory on Thursday night.
"There wasn't a lot of room out there… but where it wasn't a high event game, I do like the fact that we competed pretty hard defensively on the puck," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "They're a good team, they're fast, dynamic, and our guys showed up right from the start and played hard tonight."
Video: NSH@TBL: Sissons notches hatty with third goal
After Tampa Bay cut Nashville's two-goal lead to one, Colton Sissons answered back - for the first time - and the Preds just kept rolling from there, thanks in part to two more from the young forward.
Sissons scored into an empty net to make it 5-1 in the third, and then, with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy back in net, got his third of the night and his first career hat trick.
"It's kind of surreal, honestly," Sissons said. "I've been struggling to find the back of the net in general, so to pot three tonight feels pretty good."
Sissons essentially had an empty net to finish off the trick, but actually whiffed on the first opportunity, a fact not lost on his teammates. In the end, he had plenty to smile about after all.
"The guys were chirping me for missing the first swipe, so just tried to bear down on the second one," Sissons laughed.
"It was a big night for Siss," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "He's a guy that works every night, and he deserves it."
Video: NSH@TBL: Fisher buries Johansen's nice feed for PPG
Despite ultimately falling in overtime the last time they scored first, the Predators record still stands at a rock-solid 11-0-4 when getting the game's opening goal.
Mike Fisher put the Preds in the driver's seat early after he finished off a slick pass from Ryan Johansen on the power play at 2:25 of the first. Filip Forsberg's sixth goal in his last eight games put the visitors up by two goals early in the middle frame, and Nashville had the rare luxury of playing with a multiple goal advantage in the first half of a contest.
"Just starting the right way has been huge," Sissons said. "Our energy and our compete level [were there] right out of the gate, and just keeping it simple; sometimes you get too creative or try and do too much and sometimes you just have to chip the puck in behind their D and just make simple plays like that."
Frostys: To Be or Not to Be?
Video: NSH@TBL: Ellis scores through traffic from the point
Ryan Ellis's fifth of the season - and fourth point in two games against Tampa this season - didn't count. Then it did. Then it almost didn't again. Then it definitely did.
"To get it taken away, given and challenged again was kind of funny," Ellis said. "But it was a huge goal for our team, it's a good feeling."
Originally ruled a non-goal on the ice due to goaltender interference, the Predators challenged that Viktor Arvidsson hadn't actually inhibited Vasilevskiy from making the save. After a review, the officials and Toronto's instant replay "war room" agreed. That just led to Tampa Bay challenging that the scoring play was offside, however. After several more minutes crawled by, the video evidence was ruled "inconclusive" in large part to the puck entering the zone in the air.
A lesson in perseverance, maybe?
"I don't think I've seen the double challenge before," Sissons said. "But I think they made the right call."
James Neal is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Harry Zolnierczyk logged his second game in a Preds sweater in Neal's absence.
Forward Viktor Arvidsson skated in his 100th career game against the Lightning on Thursday night.
Pekka Rinne is now 7-0-1 all-time versus Tampa Bay.
The Predators jet across the Sunshine State in preparation to face the Florida Panthers on Friday night to finish off their back-to-back set.