Tampa Bay Lightning rally for OT win over Nashville Predators

By Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 13, 2016 at 12:58 AM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- A minute from its third straight loss, Tampa Bay tied the score with 26 seconds left and won just 1:04 into overtime when center Tyler Johnson's goal gave the Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Friday night at Amalie Arena.

Tampa Bay (30-20-4) tied the score on center Steven Stamkos' 22nd goal of the season on a six-on-four power play, then won it on Johnson's eighth goal of the year during the first shift of three-on-three overtime.

The Predators (25-22-8) had the game all but wrapped up until the Lightning scored after pulling goalie Ben Bishop.

"Good teams find a way to win and we were able to get one there at the end," said Johnson, who was skating toward a shift change when he had an opportunity to score. "Stammer had a huge goal to tie it up and we were able to get the two points -- that's all that matters."

The Lightning were within a minute of losing their third game in a row when Stamkos tied the score with 26 seconds remaining, firing a shot past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne after the Lightning had pulled Bishop for an extra attacker at the end of a power play in the final minute.

Stamkos, who had just one goal in his previous 11 games, regained a share of the team lead with his 22nd goal of the season.

"It was a goal was a long time coming for me and obviously it came in a great situation," said Stamkos, who had fired a shot from the same spot off the crossbar just seconds earlier. "Who knows, hopefully it can be something that gets us going."

Nashville, which lost the lead in the second period on two goals in two minutes, jumped back ahead with two goals in four minutes in the third period.

Left winger Filip Forsberg put Nashville ahead 3-2 when he came in wide, got Bishop in a low posture and flipped the puck over his back for his 18th goal of the season with 12:14 remaining.

Tampa Bay mustered only four shots in the first 18 minutes of final period.

"I think we were attacking the game a little more," Forsberg said of their third-period surge. "We can't afford taking penalties and putting ourselves in a four-on-six situation. We couldn't kill the game there and that was frustrating."

The Predators tied the score early in the third period, with defenseman Roman Josi feeding a beautiful pass to right winger James Neal, who beat Bishop wide for his team-best 20th goal of the season with 15:59 left.

Tampa Bay came into the night 21-1 when leading after two periods and Nashville was 2-16-3 when trailing after two. The Lightning hadn't lost three straight games in regulation since October, putting them in the middle of a logjam in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Lightning took a 2-1 lead into the third period after scoring two goals in a span of 1:45 midway through the second period.

Right winger J.T. Brown tied the score on his seventh goal of the season, getting a shot off on a rebound in front of the net with 11:38 left in the period.

Less than two minutes later, Bishop got an assist on the go-ahead goal, with his pass to defenseman Nikita Nesterov setting up right winger Nikita Kucherov for his 22nd goal of the season.

Kucherov briefly moved past Stamkos for the team lead in goals.

Kucherov, watched closely by a Predators defenseman, had his shot initially blocked by Rinne, but he poked the puck through the goalie's legs for a 2-1 lead with 9:53 left in the second period.

Nashville had jumped out to a 1-0 lead, scoring with 10:20 left in the first period on a shot by center Mike Fisher, who beat Bishop for his eighth goal of the season.

Nashville outshot Tampa Bay 11-9 in the first period, with neither team getting a power-play opportunity until nearly five minutes into the second period.

"It's disappointing to give up one late. I feel like we could have closed it out," Fisher said. "It's hard to get points on the road and we'll take it, but it's not what we wanted."

NOTES: With veteran D Jason Garrison out 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury, the Lightning called up D Slater Koekkoek from Syracuse, though he was a healthy scratch on Friday along with C Jonathan Marchessault. That meant D Matthew Carle, frequently a healthy scratch, was dressed and filling in on the blue line for the Lightning. RW Erik Condra dressed as the final forward. ... The Predators had D Petter Granberg and LW Austin Watson as their scratches. ... Lightning RW Ryan Callahan played in his 600th career game and Predators D Mattias Ekholm played in his 200th. ... The Lightning opened a four-game, seven-day homestand. The Predators continue a two-game, back-to-back swing through Florida, facing the Panthers on Saturday before returning home for three games.

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