NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The post-Olympic break schedule started off a bad note for the Lightning in Music City.
Tampa Bay failed to hold on to a two-goal lead and allowed three power play goals in a 3-2 loss to Nashville at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
Patric Hornqvist scored the game winner with 6:04 left in the game to drop the Lightning into a third-place tie with Toronoto in the Atlantic Division behind Montreal.
Marty St. Louis scored twice while Ben Bishop finished with 26 saves. Matt Cullen and Roman Josi scored for Nashville while Carter Hutton only had to make 14 saves for the victory.
The night started off as the St. Louis showcase a day after he fueled trade speculation by declining to answer questions about whether he has requested a trade after initially being left off the Olympic team. While his off-ice mentalilty continues to be questioned, he answered any questions regarding his on-ice performance early in the first period.
St. Louis burst into the Nashville zone to pressure Predators’ defenseman Shea Weber, which helped create a turnover to Ondrej Palat. After Palat made a strong toe-drag move in the slot to create a scoring chance, his shot hit the post and caromed right to St. Louis standing in the crease for his 26th goal of the season at 5:26 of the first period.
Less than four minutes later, with Tampa Bay on a power play, St. Louis held the puck along the right circle looking to make a play before firing a wrist shot on goal that handcuffed Hutton, who got a piece of the puck but was unable to hold on allowing the puck to drop and roll into the net at 9:13 for a 2-0 lead. The two-goal game marked the 50th career multi-goal game, and sixth this season. St. Louis also has points in 16 of the 17 games since Jan. 7, the day the Canadian Olympic roster was revealed.
But the second period was a reversal of fortune for the Lightning as Nashville started to tilt the ice, aided by two Tampa Bay penalties. Cullen emerged from the left corner for an easy shot into the vacated side of the net at 12:05 to cut the Lightning lead in half. That was followed 39 seconds later by a hooking call on rookie Vladislav Namestnikov, which allowed Josi to walk nearly a country mile down the left point side before firing a slap shot to the top far post at 13:16 to tie the game.
Tampa Bay had no push back on the Predators in the period as Nashville outshot the Lightning 13-4 in the middle frame.
Bishop was able to keep the game tied when he stopped a Rene Bourque breakaway at 5:25 of the first, but his teammates could not pick him up with a power play chance at 10:09 when Paul Gaustad was called for tripping. Ryan Malone would take a hooking penalty late in the man advantage, which led to another Nashville power play chance. And for the third time on the night, the Predators capitalized when Hornqvist camped out in the crease and was able to get a piece of a Mike Fisher shot and redirect the puck that trickled in under Bishop with 6:04 left in the game, marking the fourth time this season Tampa Bay has allowed three power play goals in game.