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Driedger solid, Barkov and Verhaeghe score in Panthers 2-1 win over Predators

Cats extend point streak to eight games

Nashville Predators v Florida Panthers Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Florida Panthers extended their point streak to eight games with a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators and moved into sole possession of second place in the Discover Central Division with 14 points, one behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After blowing Thursday night’s game against the Predators, Florida dominated play in the first period, outshooting the visitors 20-5, but went to the dressing down one due to a Colton Sissons goal at the 4:04 mark and some impressive goalkeeping from Pekka Rinne, who earned the win in relief the night before.

SIssons took a little saucer pass from Roman Josi, fended off Radkos Gudas, and managed to slip the puck through Chris Driedger. The second assist on the goal went to Ryan Ellis.

The Panther tied things up 5:58 into the second when Owen Tippett came off the bench and helped Carter Verhaeghe win the puck along the boards. Verhaeghe took possession and spotted Aleksander Barkov open in front and hit him with a pretty pass that the captain finished off just under the cross bar.

Tippett collected his first-ever assist and second point in his 13th game NHL played.

Florida finally forged ahead with 4:29 left in the middle frame. MacKenzie Weegar took control of a Nashville clear at the center line and passed off to Verhaeghe once he crossed the blue line. Verhaeghe worked a beautiful back and forth passing play in the slot with Barkov before sliding the puck into an open net with Rinne caught out of position.

Driedger, who finished up with 24 saves, stopped all 11 Nashville shots in the third period, including a huge one on former Cat Erik Haula with 17 seconds left, to raise his record to 3-0-1 and lower his GAA to 1.72.

Close score aside, this was one of the Panthers better efforts of the young campaign. They held to the opposition to a season-low one goal, matched a season-high with 36 shots on goal - many of them quality, dished out a season-high hits, and would’ve (should’ve) won going away if not for Rinne,

After earning three out of a possible four points against the Predators, the Cats get the day off before opening a two-game set against the Detroit Red Wings with a pre-Super Bowl matinee on Sunday.

Claws & Fangs

  • Florida remains the only NHL team to have not lost in regulation, and are the second team to have an eight-game point streak this season (Washington). This is the sixth time in NHL history that two clubs have started their season with eight-game point streaks.
  • The Predators are 1-5 on the road after losing three of four on their trip against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Panthers.
  • Aleksander Barkov extended his point streak to four games (3G/4A). Barkov is second on the club in scoring with 11 points.
  • Carter Verhaeghe posted his third multi-point game of the season. He now leads the Cats with six goals.
  • Radko Gudas recorded 19 hits in the two-game set against Nashville and leads the team with 41 this season.
  • Noah Juulsen made his Panthers debut, five hits, two shots and 14:20 time on ice.
  • For the sadder side of Florida’s sixth win, pay our friends at On The Forecheck a visit.

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