Juuse Saros stopped 40 shots and Calle Jarnkrok scored twice as the visiting Nashville Predators slipped by the Florida Panthers 2-1 to end the Cats season-high four game winning streak.
The Panthers deviated from their usual format and took a first period lead at the 18:38 mark when MacKenzie Weegar sent Patric Hornqvist and Jonathan Huberdeau away on a 2-on-1 break. Huberdeau’s backhand finish matched Hornqvist’s saucer pass in hockey style points.
Jonathan Huberdeau buries a beautiful Hornqvist dish❗ ️— FOX Sports Panthers (@FOXPanthers) March 18, 2021
0 #NSHvsFLA 1 #FlaPanthers #OneTerritory #NHL
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The goal came on Florida’s tenth shot on goal, Unfortunately Saros, seeing his first action since March 2, would stop the next 31, including a huge pad save on Anthony’s Duclair’s breakaway attempt 1:22 after Jarnkok scored what turned out to be the game-winner.
Jarnkrok’s second goal of the night came 77 seconds into the third period after Sergei Bobrovsky gave the puck away behind the net to Mikael Granlund, who centered in front to his wing for the easy put-away.
on FIRE @NissanUSA | #NSHvsFLA pic.twitter.com/BR7eksURLQ— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) March 19, 2021
The “Crock Pot” got cooking in the second period when he took Alexandre Carrier’s pass off his skate and ripped it out of the air past a startled Bobrovsky. The goal came about six seconds after Granlund beat Aleksander Barkov on an offensive zone draw. The Panthers need to be better in this department, too many opposition goals have come immediately after lost faceoffs. Trade rumor darling Mattias Ekholm picked up the secondary assist after his blocked shot caromed off Mason Marchment to Carrier.
HOW @gohermitage | #NSHvsFLA pic.twitter.com/fo0jZYi7DQ— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) March 19, 2021
It’s never great to lose to a team behind you in the standings, but you can’t win them all. Huge gaffe aside, Bobrovsky, who stopped 25 of 27 shots, played well again, and the Cats did outshoot the Predators by a 41-27 margin. When the Panthers lose, it’s usually because they can’t finish off enough scoring chances, and that was the case again last night. Florida will need to be a little sharper in Saturday’s matinee rematch, which comes a day before Sunday’s showdown with the division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
Claws & Fangs
- With the loss, Sergei Bobrovsky’s personal six-game win streak came to an end. Bobrovsky’s win streak stands as the second-longest in franchise history behind only Roberto Luongo (9 wins, 2015-16).
- MacKenzie Weegar’s assist extended his point streak to a career-high six games. That’s tied with Aleksander Barkov for the longest point streak by a Panther this season. Weegar’s six-game point streak is tied for the second-longest point streak by a Panthers defenseman in franchise history, behind Keith Yandle’s seven-game point streak that ran from October 24 to November 11, 2018.
- Defenseman Alexandre Carrier played a Predators-high 23:16 after being recalled from the taxi squad earlier in the day. He collected his first NHL assist, had two hits and blocked two shots.
- Jonathan Huberdeau notched his 11th goal of the season, extending his point streak to two games. Huberdeau leads the team with 35 points this season and has amassed 20 points (11G/9A) over 18 career games against Nashville.
- Noel Acciari led Florida with four blocked shots, Radko Gudas registered a team-high six hits. and Aaron Ekblad led the Panthers with 27:35 time on ice.
- For more on Nashville’s first regulation win over the Cats, visit On The Forecheck.