Anthony Cirelli collected two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning matched the NHL’s longest winning streak this season with a 4-1 victory over the host Nashville Predators on Monday.
By beating the Predators for the third time this season, Tampa Bay posted its fifth consecutive win overall, matching a run by the Carolina Hurricanes from Jan. 18-Feb. 2.
The visitors also matched their franchise record with eight wins and 17 points through the first 10 contests of a season (8-1-1). Those feats were first accomplished by the 2017-18 club.
Cirelli recorded tallies at even strength and on the power play, and Blake Coleman and Steven Stamkos scored empty-netters for the Lightning, who are 4-0-0 in February.
Curtis McElhinney made his first start since March 8, 2020, giving No. 1 goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (scratched) a night off after 35 straight starts. After missing two weeks due to COVID-19 protocol, McElhinney stopped 23 of 24 shots.
Nashville’s Dante Fabbro scored his first this season on the power play, and Matt Duchene had an assist. Pekka Rinne allowed two goals on 33 shots but fell to Tampa Bay for the second time in 10 days.
Nashville lost to the Lightning at home in regulation for the first time since Feb. 5, 2004.
Just over nine minutes into a first period that saw the Lightning outshoot Nashville 17-6, Cirelli took a drop pass from Alex Killorn and drilled home his third goal from a very sharp angle. He sniped the shot over Rinne’s right shoulder.
On Tampa Bay’s second power play after Matt Benning went off for tripping Brayden Point in the second period, Mikhail Sergachev made a nifty move into the slot and fired a shot that rang off the left post.
The carom went right to Cirelli, and from nearly the same slim angle as the first goal, he beat Rinne again for a 2-0 lead at 13:02 as the backstop attempted to scramble across the paint and get back into position.
Nashville went on a power play 5:59 into the third period, but McElhinney slid over and stopped Erik Haula’s deflection at 6:58.
However, Fabbro blasted a marker on the man advantage at 11:08 to make it 2-1.
With Rinne pulled for the extra skater, Coleman and Stamkos both scored into an empty net to nail down the victory.
–Field Level Media