Preds skate past Panthers
Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Patric Hornqvist's power-play goal early in the third period proved to be the eventual game-winner as the Nashville Predators downed the Florida Panthers, 4-3, at Bridgestone Arena.
Shea Weber, Mike Fisher and Craig Smith all tallied a goal and an assist for Nashville, which won its second straight tilt for the first time this season.
Pekka Rinne stopped 22-of-25 shots in the victory.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Marcel Goc and Matt Gilroy netted goals in the loss, while Jacob Markstrom surrendered all four goals on 30 shots.
"We did some good things tonight with our forecheck and creating turnovers," said Huberdeau. "We can look to build on that for our next game and get some of our mistakes straightened out."
Smith broke a 2-2 draw 1:22 into the third period when he backhanded home a rebound from Gabriel Bourque's wrister. Huberdeau turned the puck over during a Florida line change, which led to the odd-man rush and eventual goal.
Minutes later, Hornqvist lit the lamp for a 4-2 Nashville edge. David Legwand dumped it down to Hornqvist near the goal, and the Swede had plenty of time to gather the puck, put a juke on Markstrom and beat the netminder with a nifty backhand.
Midway through the final period, Gilroy made it a 4-3 affair when his shot deflected off a defender's leg and into the net.
Weber netted the lone goal of the first with a blistering slap shot from the blue line midway through the period.
"That's huge when you have a goaltender like Pekka because you give him a lead that gives him a lot to work with," said Weber. "Still, we have to get better at the defensive end becuase we let them get too many chances tonight."
The Panthers tied the score at 1-1 just over a minute into the second with a gorgeous finish from a slashing Huberdeau, who gathered a pass from Scott Gomez and beat a defender before slipping a shot past Rinne.
Nashville regained a 2-1 lead with Fisher's second goal of the season midway through the period. The tally came just moments after Bourque hit the crossbar on a point-blank try.
Goc answered under a minute after Fisher scored to tie the score once again. Both teams tried to find the puck in front of the Predators' goal after a one- timer by Goc, which he finally corralled to Rinne's left and beat the goalie with a backhand over his left shoulder.
Nashville's five-game homestand comes to an end Thursday versus Los Angeles ... The Panthers have lost five of seven contests this season. They have not scored first in any of them ... The Predators played a clean game, committing just one penalty, while Florida was only whistled twice.