Nashville, Tn — The teams with the two best records in the NHL squared off tonight in Smashville, and Ryan Johansen led the way in a 3-2 victory for the Predators.
With Viktor Arvidsson and P.K Subban out of the lineup for Nashville, other players have had to step up their game, and that’s exactly what coach Peter Laviolette is getting from his squad.
Tampa Bay got on the board first when Victor Hedman beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne for an early 1-0 Lightning lead. Rinne made 29 saves on the night and has a 9-0-1 record against the southern Florida boys.
Kyle Turris brought the game even at 15:19 of the first period with his slap shot that beat Lightning goalie Louis Domingue. Domingue is in goal replacing Andrei Vasilevskiy who is out of the lineup with a broken foot. Domingue made 31 saves on the night.
Filip Forsberg gave Nashville the 2-1 lead at 6:43 of the second period on a wrist shot from the left circle, on a pass from Mattias Ekholm as they rushed the goal. This was the 13th goal for Forsberg on the season.
Then Ryan Johansen made his presence known at 1-:16 of the second period when he redirected a shot from Craig Smith that beat Domingue for Johansen’s fourth goal of the season.
At 3:25 of the final frame, Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay to make it 3-2, then the assault was on.
The Lightning turned up the heat and had several opportunities to score, but Pekka Rinne stood firm and the Predators held on the for win and the two points.
Nashville will play host to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Puck drops at 7pm.