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The Nashville Predators played their second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening at Bridgestone Arena. It's clear head coach John Hynes is using every minute of competitive ice time to make serious roster decisions before the regular season kicks off October 7 in Prague at the Global Series. 

Several players got back to back starts, hinting that Hynes and GM David Poile still wanted to see more of specific players and line combinations before making final decisions.

Juuse Saros returned in net at Bridgestone for the first time since his injury in April against the Calgary Flames that took him out of the remainder of the regular season and first round playoff series against Colorado. 

Game Recap

Nashville outplayed the Bolts beginning right away in the first period. Tanner Jeannot scored the first goal of the game at 5:54 on a power play tip in. At 7:00, the Predators took advantage on the man advantage once again as Alexandre Carrier's blue line shot squeaked into the net. Nashville made it 3-0 with 1:39 left in the game on a Colton Sissons snipe from the circle. Jeannot assisted on both the Carrier and Sissons goals. 

Tampa Bay began the second period with some time left on a power play, but Saros calmly handled a flurry of pressure, and the Preds were able to kill the penalty. It appeared that Nashville would have another two minutes to practice their power play midway through the second, but Mikael Granlund was called for a slash early into the man advantage. Neither team scored during the four on four and the Preds killed the leftover Granlund penalty. With 2:49 left in the second, Matt Duchene found the back of the net to make it 4-0. 

Nashville started the third period on the kill once again but solid pressure meant Jeannot exited the penalty box with no harm done. Nashville had their fifth power play of the game at 1:44 in the period and Jeannot logged another beautiful tip in goal to make it 5-0. A flurry of falling bodies in front of Saros resulted in Tampa Bay's first and only goal of the game, but Nashville quickly answered back as Matt Duchene scored his second of the game at 5:09. Zach Sanford put away a low to high pass from Alexandre Carrier to make it 7-0 at 6:33. Frustration spilled over with just 2:53 remaining in the game as fisticuffs broke out. It appeared the Preds would get one more power play opportunity, but a call on Eeli Tolvanen resulted in four on four play until the last minute of the game. The final buzzer sounded with a final score of 7-1.

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Game Notes

John Hynes will have to make some difficult decisions with the roster.

Tonight's roster listed a handful of players who played against the Bolts last night. It seems John Hynes is using every competitive hockey minute he can get to sort out a few roster spots. Cole Smith, Mark Jankowski, Zach Sanford, Eeli Tolvanen, and Cody Glass took the ice again tonight to play "smart, not safe" as Hynes has been encouraging during training camp. 

Hynes, the coaching staff, and management are looking for not only the best players to take to Europe but also the best combination of talents. Tonight these players showed they are wanting that passport stamped.

Tanner Jeannot Looks Regular Season Ready.

There haven't been many times since he entered Nashville's line up that Tanner Jeannot hasn't looked strong, but tonight was an extra flex by the 25 year old. Jeannot played his usual physical, forechecking game, but he also scored two power play goals. As someone who is hard to knock off his skates, net front on the man advantage is prime real estate for Jeannot that will hopefully become a regular season fixture.

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Picking up where he left off last season, Duchene scores two.

The only thing more challenging than having a record setting season is repeating that kind of performance. Duchene has returned to training camp in fine form and enthusaistic about the upcoming season. Not only did he find the back of the net twice tonight, but he recorded assists on three goals as well. The Duchene/Forsberg/Granlund magic appears to be back. Let's hope it translates well once again in the regular season against some of the league's top players.