The Florida Panthers remained on the attack after starting out 1-0 at the end of the first period, but shots were not falling for them.
Jonathan Huberdeau stickhandled through three defenders to no avail, Carter Verhaeghe had several rebound shots in or near the crease that didn’t go in, and multiple power plays and six-man plays were run to no avail.
About half way through the second period Nashville got on the board and tied it 1-1. Again, not even two minutes into the third, the Panthers defense let another goal get by to put the Predators up 2-1. Nashville didn’t look back, and the Comeback Cats were nowhere to be found.
This game was the Panthers’ to lose after the first period where MacKenzie Weegar tied the franchise season record for a points streak. Huberdeau continued his dominance on offense, and several blocks by Noel Acciari after falling to a 5-3 matchup. The play was solid, but when the Predators found themselves on offense they took advantage.
Our execution was just not there,” Huberdeau said. “I think we gave up a little too many chances tonight. We were lucky that it was a 2-1 game. Bob made some really good saves and kept us in the game. I think Saros was pretty good on the other side, too.”
With Thursday’s loss, the Panthers fall back to the two seed in the central division.
“The games are gonna get harder, head coach Joel Quenneville said. “Every night we need everybody pushing and every shift becomes magnified in its importance.”
Star of the Game: MacKenzie Weegar (1A, 1BLK)
Since the team drafted Weegar several years ago, he has done nothing but get better, and this year he and Ekblad have arguably become the best defensive duo in the league. Weegar has taken another step this year and within the past six games with his point streak. His stellar defense has also not gone unnoticed, as he had a block on top of his assist tonight.