Driedger, playing for the first time in thirteen days, posted Florida first shutout of the season and the second of his career. His best save of the game came on Nick Cousins, who was set up on the 2-on-1 by former Panther Erik Haula. Spectacular stuff!
Shortly after Driedger’s highlight reel denial, Barkov solved the difficult Saros, who stopped an astounding 87 of 89 shots faced in the two-game set, when he cut across the slot and threw a backhander over the flailing keeper for his team-leading 13th goal. The assists went to Anthony Duclair and MacKenzie Weegar, with the goal coming at the 9:15.
The secondary helper gave Weegar an assist for the sixth consecutive game and extended his point streak to seven games, tying Keith Yandle for longest point streak by a defenseman in franchise history.
The Cats brought a full sixty minute effort to rink and would continue to pepper the virtually impenetrable Saros throughout to no avail. They finally clinched the contest when Anthony Duclair picked up his third of the season into an empty net with 15 second left with the lone assist going to linemate Carter Verhaeghe.
Once again, the Panthers refused to lose for a second time in a row. The Cats are now 9-0-1 following a loss this season. Saros and the Predators made them work for it, but the energetic Panthers were game, outshooting Nashville 49-21 and dominating for the most part. Florida’s 20th win, coupled with Carolina’s 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus, gave the Panthers sole possession of second place in the Central Division heading into today’s showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Claws & Fangs
- Both of Chris Driedger’s two career shutouts have come against the Predators. The other was a 3-0 decision on November 30, 2019 at the BB&T Center in his first NHL start.
- Aleksander Barkov has produced five goals and eight points over his past five contests, and is tied with Jonathan Huberdeau (35) for the team lead in points with 35. Huberdeau led Florida with eight shots, tied with Barkov for the most by a Panther in a game this season.
- Anthony Duclair ended an eight-game goalless drought and posted his fifth multi-point game of the season.
- Patric Hornqvist played in his 800th NHL game, registering four shots on goal and two hits. He became the 32nd Swede to reach the 800 games played mark.
- Juuse Saros equaled his NHL career high with 47 saves for the Predators. He made 40 saves on Thursday in his return after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. Let’s hope the Cats get Pekka Rinne in their final two meetings against Nashville. I’ve seen enough of Saros...
- The Panthers have not given up a power-play goal against in their past four games (14-14).
- For more on Florida’s fourth win versus the Predators, visit our friends at On The Forecheck.