One more time, Rinne turns the Bolts back

by Gary Shelton on November 2, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Pekka Rinne, an old nemisis, stops the Bolts Steven Stamkos.CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 3 a.m.

Some days, a game just slips away.

Some days, you get beat. Some days, you face a better goaltender. Some days, the scoring dries up.

Some days, it doesn't matter how much you pepper Pekka.

Thursday night was one of those days for the Tampa Bay Lighting, who played a winnable game before losing a 4-1 verdict to the Nashville Predators.

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Lightning's Slater Koekkoek celebrates his first goal of the season./CHUCK MULLER

Goaltender Pekka Rinne of the Preds continued his role as a Lightning-slayer, winning for the eighth time (with one tie) against Tampa Bay. Rinne, last year's Vezina Award winner as the league's top goaltender, turned away 46 of 47 shots in the win.

The Lightning trailed only 2-1 with 3 1/2 minutes to play, but Calle Jarnkrok

Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy stops Matt Irwin. / CHUCK MULLER

scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Fifty-four seconds later, Miikka Salomaki scored on an empty-netter for the final margin.

"I think we played real well," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "(We had) just a couple of lapses. What good teams do, they'll make you pay. That's what they did tonight. They played well. They didn't see a ton of chances.

"I think we drove the play for a large portion of the game. I don't think we gave them ten shots in the last two periods combined. One of those was the third goal and one was the empty net. We had our chances, but sometimes they end up in the back of the net."

Lightning LW Ryan Callahan rips a shot in the third period./CHUCK MULLER

The Lightning got only one shot past Rinne when Slater Koekkoek scored midway though the second period.

“Tonight was a tough game," Koekkoek said. "Two good teams going at each other but one has to lose. I thought we, for the most part, dominated play. There’s stuff to work on, but I thought we had a really solid game.

“I think the second period was stronger. The crowd got into it. They were buzzing pretty good. We were working them down low, getting pucks out, shots to the net, guys around the net. It’s fun to play that way.”

The Lightning fell to 8-3-1 on the season.

Anton Stralman moves up the ice for the Bolts./STEVEN MUNCIE

“You talk about how many shifts we were pinned in our own end, you can’t count too many," said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "They made us pay for the looks that we gave them and the breakdowns we had. We obviously want to finish a little better tonight with the looks that we had. Like you said, they have an all-star caliber goalie that played at an all-star level tonight. You have to give a lot of credit to him and that D core.”

“We obviously want to work hard, but we also want to work smart too. When you talk about changing a lot on the offensive zone, not getting caught out there. You know we might have a potential outmanned look, but it might be better to change and not get caught going back towards your end and being stuck there. I think guys did a good job making reads on that and we just controlled the puck a lot better in the second period.”

The Lightning travels to Montreal to play a 7 p.m. game against the Canadiens Saturday. The team then travels to Ottawa for a 7 p.m. game on Sunday.

Lightning's Cedric Paquette moves Nashville's Ryan Hartman./ CHUCK MULLER

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