After a grinder of a victory the night before against the Pacific and Western Conference-leading Golden Knights, the Florida Panthers were tasked to go to Tennessee to play the defending Western Conference champion and Central-leading Nashville Predators. Preds came in to this game riding a 4 game winning streak. Florida’s big headline was that James Reimer was not starting for Florida for the first time since December 4 when Roberto Luongo was injured. In net for Florida was Harri Sateri, making his first NHL start and second career game played. The Predators countered with Pekka Rinne, who remains one of the NHL’s elite goaltenders.
The Game Itself
The Florida Panthers did not do any favor for themselves as only 36 seconds into the game and the Predators were up 1-0. As the puck was pushed into the Cats’ zone Mark Pysyk could not corral the puck and it was pushed to Nick Bonino who passed it behind him to Calle Jarnkron who then passed it to Kevin Fiala who shot it five-hole on Sateri.
A minute later and Alex Petrovic would find himself in a short fight against Scott Hartnell.
The game would continue on from their with Florida getting their first premium chance on the power play on a slashing call against Miikka Salomaki. Florida would capitalize and tie the game courtesy of a goal from Vincent Trocheck. Jonathan Huberdeau made a pass in the neutral zone to Evgenii Dadonov who couldn’t get it past Rinne but the puck sat on the net’s corner and it was cleaned up by Trocheck.
This is Trocheck’s 18th goal (45 points). Dadonov would get his 18th assist and Huberdeau now has 30 assists (46 points).
Late in the 1st period the Cats would find another goal courtesy of the 4th line. A defensive zone face-off win by the Panthers led to Mackenzie Weegar sending the puck deep into the Predators’ zone. Colton Sceviour would grab the puck and round the endboards and would find Derek MacKenzie who flipped it past a diving Rinne for a 2-1 lead.
This was the Captain’s 2nd goal (10 points) on the 2017-18 campaign. Weegar would get his 3rd assist (4 points) and Sceviour his 6th assist (12 points).
The end of the first would see another fight, this time Michael Haley versus Austin Watson.
The game would get away on the Florida Panthers in the second as the Nashville Predators would net 3 goals during the period.
At the 1:24 mark Nick Bonino would poke home the puck after a scramble in front of Sateri’s net to tie the game. The Panthers would challenge accusing Nashville of goaltender interference but the call on the ice stood.
Bonino would then assist on another Fiala goal as he waited with the puck behind the Florida net and Fiala would waltz into the slot and have an easy shot past Sateri to give Nashville the lead 3-2.
Finally, at the tail end of the 2nd period a mishandled puck at the offensive blue line for Florida would lead to Nashville rushing up the ice. Craig Smith would push it into the Cats’ zone and hit P.K. Subban trailing past the blue line who then promptly slap shot it past Sateri to make it 4-2.
The Panthers would find some life midway into the 3rd as Keith Yandle would fire a shot in the neutral zone and catch Pekka Rinne sleeping to put Los Gatos within 1.
KEITH YANDLE SNIPES ONE HOME FROM CENTER ICE, WHAT A SHOT! pic.twitter.com/Ne9nwtNNJQ— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) January 21, 2018
Yandle’s goal is his 4th (25 points) with the helpers from Aaron Ekblad (7 assists, 15 points) and Dadonov (19 assists, 29 points).
Despite a concerted effort with the empty net, the Panthers could not force the game into overtime and Nashville would close the game at 4-3.
- Kevin Fiala -NSH- 2 goals
- Nick Bonino -NSH- 1 goal, 2 assists
- Calle Jarnkrok -NSH- 3 assists
PUNTOS DE PANTERAS
- Trocheck’s goal extends his point streak to 7 games. Huberdeau’s assist extends his point streak to 7 games as well. Dadonov’s 2 assists extended his point streak to 6.
- Nashville has won 5 straight games to shoot themselves into sole possession of first in the Central Division.
- Las Panteras remain 9 points back of Pittsburgh for the 2nd wild card spot but lost ground on 3rd in the Atlantic with the Leafs extending their lead to 13 points.
Florida will finish this short 2-game road trip with a visit to Texas to play the Dallas Stars, who hold the 1st wild card in the Western Conference. Tune into LBC for that game on Tuesday, 8:30 PM EST, and check out the Caterwauls during the two day break. Please comment on your thoughts on the Preds game and thanks for reading.