Sergei Bobrovsky said it best, “winning is fun.” After two consecutive overtime losses, the Florida Panthers were able to enjoy a 5-4 win against the Nashville Predators.
The Panthers started hot out of the gate with two goals in the first: one by Carter Verhaeghe, and one by Mason Marchment. Marchment is on a four-game point streak and scored his first career goal tonight.
“Tonight was a dream come true,” Marchment said.”
Although each side scored two goals in the second, the main action was in the third. An offsides call early on nullified an early Predators goal that would’ve made the score 4-3. The Panthers scored one to spread the lead to 5-2. The Predators got some late momentum, however, scoring two more goals before captain Roman Josi got sent to the box. Bobrovsky and the Panthers stopped the comeback to finish it 5-4.
The Panthers’ prized power play lines and penalty kill lines were back to their strong selves tonight. Florida’s powerplay rebounded, as they shot 2-4 after going 1-14 in the last five games. The penalty kill also showed its strengths, especially late to halt any goals on a five-on-three in the third.
The Panthers are 7-1-1 on the road this season and would like to extend that in addition to reclaiming the top seed in the Central Division with a win over the Predators on Saturday.
Star of the Night: Aaron Ekblad (2 G, 2A)
The mastermind behind the victory was defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who’s in the running for the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defender. He leads all defensemen in the league in goals and leads the team in TOI.
“He did everything right on both ends,” head coach Joel Quenneville said.
If he continues to play at this level and the Panthers keep winning, it’ll be a shock if he doesn’t win the James Norris Memorial Trophy.