Tampa Bay Sports Day

BOLTS’ NOTES: Bishop Makes Preaseason Debut in Nashville

Cody Bass’ goal with 4:23 remaining in regulation proved to be the difference in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Lightning fell to 2-2-0 in the preseason following Saturday’s defeat.

“If I was going to take a positive out of this, it was a little bit of resiliency, the penalties we took and being down 3-1, to fight back. It’s unfortunate we lost it at the end, but I guess if you’re going to lose a game like that, better to be in the preseason than the regular season,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

The Bolts capped a three-games-in-three-days stretch with their loss in Nashville, going 2-1-0 over that period.

Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop made his preseason debut and stopped 22-of-26 shots in the loss. Bishop played the full game.

“It felt good to get a game under your belt like that. Obviously, they had a lot of their top guys on the power play there, so they made some good plays, a couple good shots,” Bishop said. “But it’s nice to feel the puck again and look through the screens and kind of work on the rushes and what not. Obviously, not the outcome we want but some good practice out there.”

Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov netted the game’s opening goal on a first period power play, ripping a shot from the left point past Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec (23 saves). The goal was the first of the preseason for Nesterov.

Nesterov’s power-play goal was assisted by Valtteri Filppula and Jonathan Drouin. Filppula and Drouin were playing their first game of the preseason Saturday. Filppula scored a goal in his preseason debut, receiving a stretch pass from Bishop and beating Mazanec with a backhander on the break to cut the Bolts’ deficit to 3-2 at 15:18 of the second period.

Cory Conacher got on the board for the first time this preseason with an unassisted goal 3:07 into the third period to tie the game 3-3.

“I just wanted to try to shoot the puck a little more today, and I think I did that. That was my goal, even on the power play, playing with some top NHL guys, it’s important not to be afraid to shoot,” Conacher said. “A lot of times you want to pass the puck to those guys, but I thought we were moving the puck pretty well on our power play, gave me a couple opportunities to shoot so that was my goal, don’t think too much and put the puck on net.”

The LIghtning play again until Thursday when they travel to Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.

GAME NOTES: Nesterov’s goal was also the first on the power play for the Bolts this preseason. Tampa Bay came into Saturday’s game 0-for-9 on the power play through three preseason games….Bishop and James Wisniewski had the assists on Filppula’s second-period goal…Nesterov led the LIghtning in shots (5) and time on ice (22:19)…. Tampa Bay and Nashville both finished with 26 shots…the Bolts’ three goals were the most they’ve scored in a game this preseason. They had scored two goals in each of their previous three exhibition games.