The Predators staged another comeback and salvaged a point, but the visitors ultimately claimed victory.
Nashville scored twice in the third period, but the Florida Panthers prevailed in the shootout to take the Saturday night matchup by a 3-2 final at Bridgestone Arena. The result moves the Preds to 4-3-1 through eight games, their first foray into overtime and a shootout this season.
A win every time out is the goal, of course, but Nashville had their chances throughout the night, and considering their situation entering the final frame, they’ll take the point in the standings on this occasion.
“We had a ton of chances throughout the game to get on the board and make it a bit of a different game,” Preds forward Kyle Turris said. “Coming back like we did in the third was good, just weren’t able to finish it in the shootout.”
“We battled all night,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We had a difficult time getting the puck actually onto the net; there were a lot of blocks and a lot of pressure coming as we were trying to approach the net. You have to give our guys a lot of credit for battling back and tying it up. It’s always difficult when you get into a shootout loss. I thought we played hard in the third to get a point.”
The first goal of the evening didn’t come until the game was over halfway over, and it was Denis Malgin who tallied on the power play to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Brett Connolly then floated a shot from the point past Pekka Rinne before the second stanza was out for a 2-0 Florida lead through 40 minutes.
But in the third, Roman Josi gave the Preds life with a blast from the point to cut the deficit in half. Four minutes later, and with the Preds on the power play, Kyle Turris walked down the right wing and roofed a shot over the shoulder of Sam Montembeault to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime.
“They were kind of cheating [Craig Smith] after we broke out the first time, the defenseman was,” Turris said of the play that led to his goal. “I just tried to jump by him and luckily he didn’t get a piece of me and I got by him. The other d-man kind of came down and took away the pass to [Mikael Granlund] going backdoor, so I couldn’t come over to him. I figured I would try to catch the goalie leaning.”
Nashville had a late chance on the power play in the extra session, and after overtime solved nothing, Vincent Trocheck was the lone skater to score in the shootout. Montembeault stopped Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Turris on the breakaways to give the Panthers the extra point.
“We were ready to play,” Josi said. “Our first [line] was pretty good. I felt like we were pushing for the whole game. We just have to clean up those big chances right in front of our net. Other than that, I thought the boys were ready to play.”
Of note on Saturday night, Turris slid into the middle with Duchene and Granlund on his wings. The trio combined for eight shots on the night and impressed their bench boss in the process.
“Kyle was good, and the line was dangerous,” Laviolette said. “All three of them played well together, especially [Duchene] moving over to the wing for the first game. He has played a lot of wing, so the move was a little more natural for him. I thought the line was pretty good.”
Forward Yakov Trenin also made his NHL debut for the Predators after being recalled earlier in the day from AHL Milwaukee. The Russian forward dished out one hit in 12:35 of ice time while on a line with Smith and Nick Bonino.
Miikka Salomaki was also recalled along with Trenin, and both were in the lineup on Saturday night.
“They were good,” Laviolette said of Trenin and Salomaki. “They brought good energy. They’re big, they’re strong, they skate, they try to hit. We knew going into the game we were going to have a couple lines that were more built on skill, and we’d have a couple lines built on the energy, the physicality and being able to play good defense. I thought the four lines were pretty good.”
The Predators didn’t achieve the desired result on Saturday, but after Thursday’s loss in Arizona – a game that left Nashville disappointed in just about every facet of their play – this was a much better look to start a three-game homestand.
“We talk about just finishing games strong, whether we’re behind or in the lead,” Turris said. “Just trying to finish strong, give ourselves the best opportunity to win a game.”
Forward Filip Forsberg missed his second consecutive game due to a lower-body injury.
Prior to Saturday’s contest, the Predators signed 2019 second-round draft pick Egor Afanasyev to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Nashville’s three-game homestand continues on Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks come to town. That’s followed by a visit for the Minnesota Wild for the second time this season on Thursday.