Recap: Knight, Panthers tame Predators by 4-1 count
Cats post seventh straight win to open eight-point lead on Buds and Canes
Spencer Knight made 24 saves and Carter Verhaeghe and Gustav Forsling each registered a goal and an assist to the lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Verhaeghe opened the scoring 3:43 into the game on a delayed penalty. After playing catch with Forsling, Brandon Montour fed Verhaeghe for a one-timer from just inside the left circle for his 22nd of the season.
Ryan Johansen tied the game 2:19 later, also notching his 22nd goal, after Alexandre Carrier moved the puck down the right boards and behind the net to Filip Forsberg, who centered in front to Johansen.
Rookie Anton Lundell would pot the eventual game-winning goal at 15:16 of the second period. Sam Reinhart took possession of the puck after Ben Chiarot’s shot was blocked and handed it off to Lundell. The rookie beat his man and broke in on Juuse Saros from the left side and finished short-side, over the shoulder, from a sharp angle.
The Panthers would wrap up the key road win with a pair of late empty-netters from Jonathan Huberdeau with 1:07 remaining, assists to Aleksander Barkov and MacKenzie Weegar, and Forsling seventeen seconds after that.
After giving up a total of 18 goals over the previous four games, Florida answered calls to tighten things up by limiting the Predators, who are fighting for their playoff lives, to just one goal on 25 shots. The Cats won their seventh straight, and have now won 10 of 11 overall and six of seven road games. They lead the Carolina Hurricanes by eight points for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference and also hold an eight-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with just ten games left to go.
Claws & Fangs
- Jonathan Huberdeau’s insurance goal extended his point streak to 11 games, while Aleksander Barkov’s helper on the play gave him points in seven straight tilts.
- With his primary on the game-winner, Sam Reinhart set an NHL career-high with 44 assists. He had 43 for the Buffalo Sabres during the 2018-19 campaign.
- Juuse Saros stopped 21 of 23 shots for the Predators, who lost at home for the first time since March 12.
- Gustav Forsling set a new career-high in goals with his sixth. Forsling had four shots on goal, one behind Anthony Duclair and Filip Forsberg, who each had a game-high five.
- Spencer Knight has posted wins in his last four appearances, two starts and two in relief. Florida’s rookie keeper is now 17-8-3 with a 2.83 GAA and .906 save percentage.
- The Panthers and Predators split the season series with each team winning on the road. Read more about it at On The Forecheck./