Brayden Point had two assists to help Tampa Bay end a five-period goal drought with the big second. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves.
''When we're having success, we're shooting the puck, and we didn't shoot the puck in the first period,'' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. ''We're just leaving plays out there. And the other thing is we're just not taking eyes away, so when you're letting goalies see pucks, they make saves. . I think we'd gone six or seven periods without a goal, so at some point the dam had to break.''
Nashville lost in regulation to Tampa Bay for the first time since Dec. 29, 2013, a span of 13 games.
Ryan Ellis, Viktor Arivdsson and Mathieu Olivier had power-play goals for the Predators. Pekke Rinne made 29 saves, losing to the Lightning in regulation for the first time in his career.
''We got ourselves in penalty trouble in the second period,'' Nashville coach John Hynes said. ''That carried into momentum for Tampa and we didn't do a good job of responding to that momentum. In the third period we dug in and played a lot faster. We executed better and we were a harder team. The second period costs us the game.''
The teams will meet again Monday night in Tampa.
''You have to leave your mark on every team you play,'' Nashville forward Filip Forsberg said. ''Guys were stepping up with the physicality. Guys were going hard. It's going to be a good one on Monday''
After Tampa Bay took the first eight shots on goal in the game, Nashville that took advantage of penalty trouble by the Lightning. While Nashville failed to covert on the first two power-play chances, which included 45 seconds of a 5-on-3, Ellis needed only eight seconds into the third man advantage to put the Predators in front during a scramble above the crease at 17:55.
The Lightning scored three times in a 4:38 span in the second.
Johnson tied it at 3:33, finding a rebound off Anthony Cirelli's initial shot for a power-play goal. The first of the season for Johnson also was the first Tampa Bay goal in 120 minutes, 33 seconds.
Foote put the Lightning in front at 6:41 with his first career NHL goal, firing home a one-timer from the left circle off a feed from Mikhail Sergachev.
''It felt unbelievable, you have dreams your whole life of scoring the first goal and I'll definitely remember that,'' said Foote, the son of former NHLer Adam Foote. ''
Hedman came off the bench to take a pass from Cirelli and cut down the slot to wire a shot past Rinne at 8:05 for a 3-1 lead.
Stamkos notched another power-play goal for the Lightning at 17:27 to make it 4-1, his 300th career power- play point to tie Martin St. Louis for the franchise record.
The Predators cut it to 4-2 at 5:57 of the third on a backhand rebound shot from Olivier before Arvidsson cut the deficit to a goal with 1:34 left.
Nashville assistant coach Todd Richards returned to Amalie Arena on Saturday for the first time since helping the Lightning to the 2020 Stanley Cup. Richards spent five seasons as an associate coach with the Lightning before joining the Predators in the offseason.
BACK TO BACKUP
Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney returned to the team after a two-week stint on the league's COVID-19 list that kept him out since Jan. 16. McElhinney took part in Saturday's morning skate but did not dress. Coach Jon Cooper said they want to give McElhinney some time to work his way back to game shape before he plays. Andrei Vasilevskiy made his 32nd consecutive start dating back to last season and including the playoffs.
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