NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ben Clymer watched Nashville close Tampa Bay’s three-goal lead to 3-2, and he committed a penalty that put the Predators back on the power play late in the second period.
But Tampa Bay killed off the man advantage. Clymer jumped into the play by scoring his second goal of the season nine seconds later as the Lightning beat Nashville 5-2 on Thursday night.
“They were really strumming us and I thought they were going to tie it. For us to kill it off was huge,” he said. “I just skated across the red line and the puck came to me.”
Four other Tampa Bay players scored, Cory Stillman had three assists and Martin St. Louis added two more as Tampa Bay built a 3-0 lead midway through the second period before Nashville seized the momentum.
“The power play was awful. They score two on their power play, and then we came back 3-2 and then we get scored on right away,” Nashville’s Andreas Johansson said. “That fourth goal, that’s a killer.”
Nashville failed to score on all six of its man advantages, but Denis Arkhipov kept the Predators in the game by scoring twice in the second period. Martin Erat and Vladimir Orszagh added two assists each.
Tampa Bay hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in five games, stopping the last 19 chances, and the Lightning improved to 15-10-3-1 on the road.
Lightning coach John Tortorella said killing off three first period penalties set the stage.
“That first goal in a hockey game is a very important thing, and for us to have to kill three of them off, I felt it was the most important part of the game,” he said.
The penalty killing allowed Pavel Kubina to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead by poking a backhander past goalie Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun has given up three or more goals in five of his last six games since being chosen to the All-Star team.
The goal came 2:01 after Dan Boyle scored nine seconds into Tampa Bay’s second power play.
But Nashville scrapped back into the game as Arkhipov connected after Erat circled behind the net and fired a shot that was deflected by Orszagh. The puck trickled to a stop just behind goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and Arkhipov swept it into the open net.
He made it 3-2 after taking a pass from Orszagh just inside the blue line and putting it through Khabibulin’s legs.
Then came Clymer’s goal with 37 seconds left in the period.
“A guy gets out of the penalty box and scores and it ends up being the difference in the hockey game,” Stillman said. “It just shows the character that’s building in this team.”
Khabibulin buckled down in the final period, stopping all 12 Nashville shots, and Tim Taylor added an empty-net goal with 2:09 left.
Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards opened scoring on the power play in the first period. Notes: Lightning general manager Jay Feaster announced the club
entered into an affiliation agreement with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. It’s the first full-time affiliate for Tampa Bay since the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League folded after the 2000-01 season. ... The Lightning are 13-4-0-2 in 2004. ... Arkhipov scored two goals in a game for the first time this season, and fourth time in his career.
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