Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning falls to Predators (w/ video)

TAMPA — This wasn't goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's night.

Everyone could see it.

Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on the first eight shots he faced in the Lightning's 6-1 loss to the Predators in front of 19,092 at Amalie Arena. A couple came on seemingly harmless shots he'd stop nine out of 10 times. That would be enough to shake anyone's confidence, much less a 22-year-old getting his first shot as a team's No. 1 goaltender.

Vasilevskiy wasn't made available to the media after the game.

Coach Jon Cooper indicated he didn't consider pulling Vasilevskiy and inserting Adam Wilcox, called up Wednesday from AHL Syracuse for his first appearance in the NHL. To Cooper, this was part of Vasilevskiy's learning curve. Vasilevskiy is expected to start the next game, Saturday at Philadelphia.

"He's a young goalie, and eventually he's going to be a starting goalie in this league," Cooper said. You're not going to have your 'A' game every single night. Nobody does. Hall of Famer goaltenders have all gone through this."

BISHOP RETURN ON TARGET: The injured goalie expects to be back mid month, if not earlier.

Vasilevskiy's performance was magnified considering the Lightning's state. It is desperately fighting for a playoff spot. After winning two of three to start this five-game homestand, the Lightning (19-17-4) dropped the last two. And now it heads on the road for tough back-to-back games in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on Saturday and Sunday.

"You're not going to see this team fold," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "You're going to see this team rise to the occasion. We've seen it so many times before."

The Lightning believes Vasilevskiy will rise to the occasion, too. It's hard enough to replace a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist in Ben Bishop, who is expected to return in mid-January from a lower-body injury suffered Dec. 20. It's another for Vasilevskiy to feel like he has to carry a struggling team.

Vasilevskiy is 4-3-1 since taking over for Bishop and has allowed a season-high-matching five goals in back-to-back games.

There were some positives in this one. The Lightning had 69 shot attempts to Nashville's 35. Tampa Bay defended better, not allowing a ton of dangerous scoring chances. But the Lightning couldn't capitalize, other than with a Tyler Johnson power-play goal in the second period. That pulled Tampa Bay within 2-1.

But Nashville scored a back-breaker with seven minutes left in the second period and another one 42 seconds later. The first came on a Colton Sissons wrist shot from the right circle that beat Vasilevskiy glove side. The second one was a screened point shot by Ryan Ellis that withstood two coaches challenges, Nashville on goalie interference and Tampa Bay on offside.

Sissons added two more goals, one an empty-netter, to record his first career hat trick.

"They had a couple seeing-eye (shots) that went in and kind of changed the momentum of the game," Johnson said. "We kind of let up after that. We got deflated. That's not our team. We definitely have to be better than we were."

So does Vasilevskiy.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Predators1326
Lightning0101
Predators1326
Lightning0101

First Period1, Nashville, Fisher 11 (Johansen, Ekholm), 2:25 (pp). PenaltiesJohnson, TB, (slashing), 1:37; Zolnierczyk, NSH, (high sticking), 4:16; Nashville bench, served by Fiala (too many men on the ice), 14:32; Brown, TB, Major (fighting), 17:12; Watson, NSH, Major (fighting), 17:12; Brown, TB, served by Drouin, (roughing), 17:12.

Second Period2, Nashville, Forsberg 9 (Fiala, Johansen), 3:56. 3, Tampa Bay, Johnson 12 (Hedman, Killorn), 6:12 (pp). 4, Nashville, Sissons 3 (Fisher), 13:21. 5, Nashville, Ellis 5 (Wilson, Arvidsson), 14:04. PenaltiesIrwin, NSH, (tripping), 4:42; Bitetto, NSH, (hooking), 7:49; Callahan, TB, (interference), 15:46.

Third Period6, Nashville, Sissons 4 (Jarnkrok), 14:02. 7, Nashville, Sissons 5 (Bitetto, Jarnkrok), 17:00. PenaltiesDrouin, TB, (slashing), 12:10; Ekholm, NSH, (slashing), 12:10; Watson, NSH, (roughing), 13:53; Killorn, TB, (roughing), 13:53. Shots on GoalNashville 4-7-8—19. Tampa Bay 5-11-12—28. Power-play opportunitiesNashville 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. GoaliesNashville, Rinne 14-10-6 (28 shots-27 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 10-7-2 (18-13). A19,092 (19,204). T2:32. Referees—Kevin Pollock, Garrett Rank. LinesmenSteve Barton, Steve Miller.

     
                         
Comments
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18
Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

LAS VEGAS — Before Devante Smith-Pelly could relax or breathe or even start thinking about his game-tying goal, he had to start moving his feet.The period of recall began midway through the third period Thursday night, when the Capitals trailed, 3-2....
Published: 06/08/18
Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

The Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup title in the franchise's 43-year history Thursday night in Las Vegas.And still the St. Louis Blues and their fans wait. The Blues marked their 50th NHL season this year; 50 years without a Cup.He...
Published: 06/08/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What could have been for the Lightning

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What could have been for the Lightning

As the Washington Capitals celebrate their first Stanley Cup championship, Rick Stroud reflects on what could have been for the Lightning, which came within a victory of eliminating Washington in the conference final.Plus, the Rays lose in ...
Published: 06/08/18
Capitals win first Stanley Cup, eliminate Golden Knights in 5

Capitals win first Stanley Cup, eliminate Golden Knights in 5

LAS VEGAS — Alex Ovechkin put both hands to his head and screamed while he left the bench and skated into the thick of the Washington Capitals' joyous celebration. And right before Ovechkin hoisted the Stanley Cup, the Washington captain put ...
Published: 06/07/18
Updated: 06/08/18
Here’s what I remember about the Lightning’s Stanley Cup. How about you?

Here’s what I remember about the Lightning’s Stanley Cup. How about you?

You might not recognize the name, but my words were probably some of the first you read after the Lightning won its first – and, so far, only — Stanley Cup 14 years ago today.In the days before social media, email newsletters and push not...
Published: 06/07/18
The Lightning Effect on the Stanley Cup is about to strike again

The Lightning Effect on the Stanley Cup is about to strike again

Call it the Lightning effect.The Washington Capitals are a win away from ending years of frustration and winning their first Stanley Cup.As if we doubted them.RELATED: More Lightning coverageAlex Ovechkin and his Caps teammates have the Tampa Bay Lig...
Published: 06/05/18
Capitals on verge of Stanley Cup after blowing out Golden Knights in Game 4

Capitals on verge of Stanley Cup after blowing out Golden Knights in Game 4

WASHINGTON — Evgeny Kuznetsov smiled about getting four assists. He tried not to smile too much at the thought of being one win away from the Stanley Cup. With Kuznetsov and goaltender Braden Holtby leading the way, the Washington Capitals are on the...
Published: 06/05/18