The excitement of the Nashville Predators six-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt at the Bank Atlantic Center on Thursday night at the hands of the Florida Panthers, who forged a 3-2 victory.
The Panthers came from behind to win on a late goal by David Booth. The Predators mounted an attack late but were unable to overcome an entire game of listless hockey.
Florida’s other goals came from Radek Dvorak and Rostislav Olesz who also had an assist to complete a two-point night, while David Legwand and Colin Wilson each added a tally for the Preds in a losing effort.
Prior to the game, Ex-Pred Tomas Vokoun was upset with the decision to start Scott Clemmensen but it proved to be the right choice as he stopped 27 of 29 Nashville shots. Pekka Rinne gave up three goals on 34 shots in the loss.
The game did not start well for the Predators. as they committed a major blunder trying to move the puck through the neutral none. Cory Stillman stole the puck and sent it to Marty Reasoner who passed to Dvorak who made the shot from Rinne’s right to give the Panthers and early 1-0 lead.
The Predators continued to look out of sync but did manage to tie the game 1-1 at 10:50 when Legwand found Wilson buried his 11th goal of the year in front of the Panther net.
The Panthers outshot the Preds, 13-10 and generally outplayed Nashville in a period where the Preds never seemed to hit on all cylinders and had trouble controlling the puck.
The second period brought more of the same disjointed play that had been common earlier in the game. The teams each had two minor penalties but neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage. Florida outshot Nashville, 11-7 in the middle period.
The Predators took the lead at 10:02 in the third when Legwand skated in on the left side and fired a shot from the dot in the face off circle that found its way past Clemmenson to put the Preds ahead, 2-1.
The Predators poor performance caught up with them at 13:34 in the third when there was confusion in front of the net and Olesz was able to sneak the puck into the net on a rebound to tie the game at 2-2. The situation deteriorated further at 15:48 when Booth put a shot past Rinne to put the Panthers ahead, 3-2.
With 1:39 left, the Predators pulled Rinne from the net to give Nashville an extra attacker and the Preds played some of the most inspired hockey of the evening. With 12.1 seconds remaining, the Predators tried to lobby for a goal but the whistle had blown.
Playing desperate hockey at the end, the Preds outshot Florida 12-10 in the final stanza.
Shea Weber’s assist on Legwand’s goal extended his point streak to seven games which is the longest in his career. Weber has tallied 11 points — two goals and nine assists — during the streak.
The Predators returned home after the game and will face the Chicago Blackhawks in back to back games in Nashville on Saturday and in Chicago on Sunday.