NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 19th
(All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (16-15-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (20-11-3), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning know they were fortunate to come
away with a victory last time out. Still, they return home having won three of
their last four games and seek another victory on Thursday night against the
Having split the first two contests of a three-game road trip, the Lightning
found themselves trailing the New York Islanders by two goals with less than
three minutes left in regulation during Tuesday's meeting on Long Island.
However, Valtteri Filppula scored twice late and had one of two Tampa Bay
shootout goals in a 3-2 victory, with Nikita Kucherov notching the deciding
tally in the tiebreaker and Ben Bishop ending with 32 saves.
"We passed up too many shots tonight, but the boys stuck with it and we
probably stole a couple points tonight," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
Filppula got the comeback started when he scored with a wrister from the right
slot with 2:53 on the clock, then converted on a backhander with Bishop pulled
and just 3.8 ticks remaining in regulation.
J.T. Brown and Martin St. Louis assisted on Filppula's 12th goal of the
"The first goal I got was a lucky one," Filppula said. "I was surprised I got
the puck, but I was happy it went in. On the second one there was a lot of
guys in front of the net and I just stayed out of the pile hoping the puck
would make its way out and to me."
Tampa Bay is 4-1-2 over its last seven games and could have defenseman Victor
Hedman back in the lineup for the first time in seven games. He has been out
with a lower-body injury.
The Predators were not as lucky last time out, having a three-game win streak
snapped with a 3-1 loss to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.
Shea Weber had a first-period goal and Nashville logged 17 shots in the
opening frame, but still came out of the period down a goal and only managed
11 shots the rest of the way.
"I thought we had a real good first period, maybe one of our better first
periods of the year and we're down 2-1. That's ironic how it is," Nashville
coach Barry Trotz said. "They're a good, high-executing team."
Carter Hutton had yielded just four goals in total over the three-game win
streak, but yielded three on 27 shots faced Tuesday.
Hutton was backed up versus the Blackhawks by Magnus Hellberg after Marek
Mazanec missed the contest due to illness. Hellberg has since been returned to
the minors, though the rookie Hutton is still likely to make his first career
start versus the Lightning.
Bishop, who is 11-2-0 with a 1.90 goals against average in 13 starts at home
this season, has never faced the Predators.
Nashville has won three in a row over the Lightning, but is 2-3-0 with two
ties in seven all-time games at Tampa. The Preds did win their most recent
trip there, 4-3 on Oct. 24, 2010.
12/19 11:52:11 ET