The Nashville Predators lost another game on home ice, this time a 3-2 overtime thriller against the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the play on the ice was a bit of a roller coaster at both ends, the biggest news to come from this game could be what happens to Ryan Johansen in the next day or so.

Johansen’s elbow on Lightning forward Brayden Point in the 2nd period landed him a five minute major and a game misconduct, ejecting him from the game. Though it looked like the hit was unintentional from Johansen, a review from the officials (as the rule book requires) upheld the call.

After the game, Ryan Johansen disagreed that it should have been a misconduct. He also wondered (along with many Preds fans) why there wasn’t a similar call on Erik Cernak later in the game.

The Johansen ejection didn’t decide the game outright, but it certainly changed the tenor of the game from that point. And with Johansen out of the lineup, it’s possible the Preds would have been able to come away with two points in a game they trailed throughout. It’s also possible Johansen could be facing a suspension by the league, given that he is a repeat offender (he was suspended two games last year for high sticking Mark Sheifele).

Preds down early, come back late

The Lightning took an early lead on a goal by Victor Hedman after a slow start by the Preds. Hedman’s slap shot from the blue line deflected in off of Craig Smith’s stick to give Tampa a 1-0 lead. The home crowd (which was rather sparse) was kept in check early on.

Between the action on the ice and the listless fans in the stands, you wouldn’t have guessed a hockey game was going on.

Things got a lot more interesting in the the 2nd period. First, Calle Jarnkrok tied the game on a wrist shot from the left circle following a face-off win by Kyle Turris. Then the Lightning tied it up almost immediately, with Ondrej Palat slamming the puck into a wide open net to make it 2-1.

The biggest moment of the game came when Ryan Johansen was called for a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for elbowing Brayden Point. While the elbow may not have been intentional (Point was skating up from behind and Johansen’s elbow caught him square in the face), the call remained a major penalty. The Preds were able to kill off the penalty however, even generating a couple of shorthanded chances.

After building momentum in the 2nd, the Preds tied it up in the 3rd period. Kyle Turris scored a power play goal to make it 2-2 and the place erupted.

While most of the cheers were for the home team tying the game up, I imagine more than a few were happy for Turris to be the one to do it.

The Preds had a couple chances late in the 3rd period, including on a power play, to give themselves a lead, but the Lightning held strong. Then in overtime, Nikita Kucherov put home the game winning goal off a nice feed from Steven Stamkos.

Though in some ways the Preds should feel good about getting a point out of a game they started so poorly, in other ways they should feel like they left a win on the ice.

Kyle Turris comes through

Outside of the Johansen ejection, the biggest story of the game was the redemption of Kyle Turris.

Turris returned to action for the first time since November 16th, having been scratched for seven straight games. This came with the news before the game that Mikael Granlund would miss the game with a lower body injury.

How did Turris respond with his first start in nearly three weeks? By gathering two points, including a late game tying goal and an assist on Calle Jarnkrok’s goal in the 2nd period. He also finished with three shots on goal and a 75 percent face-off win rate.

For Kyle Turris, this had to be a great feeling. As a professional hockey player who is paid a good salary, he had to feel like he was being screwed out of a chance to prove his worth. Then tonight he plays a huge game and gets production on the ice to show what he can do.

And though Turris is usually a soft-spoken “man of few words”, he had some interesting comments after the game when asked about how he felt he played with seven straight games off:

The saga of Kyle Turris not playing for the Nashville Predators has been a long and confusing one. Something tells me it’s not quite over.

— Featured image Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports — 


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