TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – For the first time this season, playing in front of home fans, Tampa Bay Lightning raised their banner for the Stanley Cup 2020 and won Nashville Predators 6-3 on Saturday night.
Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist for Lightning. Alex Killorn,, Brayden Point,, Blake Coleman i Mathieu Joseph also scored points and Erik Cernak finished with two assists.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 strokes to earn his 17th NHL win.
Erik Haula,, Alexandre Carrier i Yakov Train scored for Predators, who have fallen to 1-5-1 in the last seven games. Pekka Rinne made 21 defenses.
With a maximum audience of 3,800 in attendance, Lightning raised the banner for the 2020 championship on the rafters and jumped to a three-goal lead.
Johnson opened the scoring, sliding across the ice before scoring in Cernak’s pass at 6:55 of the first half. Joseph scored his sixth chance of the season 2-0 with 1:25, shooting from the right circle.
Killorn knocked the ball home Ondrej Palat for a power-play goal at 3: 0 in 2:24 seconds.
Trenin reduced to 3-1 with a shot from the left lap at 12:02, but Point, celebrating his 25th birthday, responded at 18:48 as he cut high before pointing his wrist at the opposite pole.
Nashville shaved the gap with Carrier’s first goal of his career as a trailer in a 3 on 2 run at 3:17 of the third and Haula’s goal at 5:03.
Coleman regained a two-goal backhand advantage from a low slot at 10:02. McDonagh added an empty goal with the remaining 1:34.
Former NHL MVP Nikita Kucherov he was surprised on the ice with Lightning during the morning skating. Kucherov is recovering from hip surgery in December, which is expected to keep him for at least the rest of the regular season.
“Kuch is a big part of our team, so whenever we can have him around, it’s great for us to be able to see him progress,” coach Jon Cooper said. “She is starting to feel a little better. Is it far from what he usually does outside? Yes. ”
Nashville started the day with seven players in reserved injuries, including the captain Roman Josi, goalkeeper Hair Saros, center Matt Duchene and defense counsel Ryan Ellis, while he is a defense attorney Dante Fabbro served the second game of the two-game suspension. Before the game, Predators added a defensive player Mark Borowiecki on the list, announcing he won’t be from week to week with an upper body injury. Nashville activated the defense Frederic Allard,, I’m Harpur and Carrier from the taxi team, while Allard made his NHL debut.
The teams play again on Monday afternoon.