NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After the Predators squandered a late two-goal lead, their rookie sensation scored the game-winner in a shootout.
Filip Forsberg had the lone goal in a four-round tiebreaker, and Nashville beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Saturday night.
The first three players on each team failed to convert in the shootout. Forsberg then skated slowly to the right before snapping a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Roberto Luongo between the pads.
"That was the plan basically, just try to shoot it pretty quick," Forsberg said. "Maybe he wasn't really suspecting a shot there, so I was just lucky that it went in."
Colin Wilson and Matt Cullen had the goals in regulation for the Predators, winners of three of four. Pekka Rinne made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-1.
Rocco Grimaldi and Nick Bjugstad scored 12 seconds apart to tie the game for the Panthers. Luongo had 48 saves, but Florida has lost two of three.
"It's the type of game I enjoy," Luongo said. "They were just throwing pucks from everywhere, so I was able to get in the game early, get a good feeling going. Unfortunately both of their goals were not really shots on net, they both deflected off our guys, but we battled in the last minute to tie it up, which was huge for us."
Rinne made a pad stop to deny Brad Boyes on Florida's last shootout attempt.
"You just focus on one guy at a time and try to stay patient," Rinne said. "I felt like over the years, guys have gotten so much better in shootouts; they have different moves, they come with different speeds."
With time winding down in the third, Luongo was pulled for an extra attacker. Grimaldi's first career goal put the Panthers on the board at 19:17. Bjugstad quickly followed to send the game to overtime.
"Louie was the star of the game and gave us a chance," Florida coach Gerard Gallant said. "We came back late. When we pulled the goalie, we scored two goals late in the hockey game, so we never quit."
Wilson scored the game's first goal with 1:34 remaining in the second period.
From behind the Florida goal, Wilson tried to throw the puck in front, but it deflected off Panthers defenceman Dylan Olsen up into the air and hit Luongo's back before crossing the goal line.
The shot was Nashville's 33rd of the game to that point. Luongo made 14 saves in the first, 18 in the second, 11 in the third and five in overtime.
Cullen doubled Nashville's lead at 13:01 of the third. Skating through the slot, he took a pass from Derek Roy and beat Luongo for his third goal of the season.
"I'm going to look at this game as 100 per cent positive," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "I'll be in here sometimes when we win and maybe not so happy, and I'll be in here sometimes when we lose and I'm really going to love the way we played. I will always focus more on the process of how we played the game and tonight, I thought the guys were dead on with what they were trying to do on the ice, and that was as consistent as I've seen it."
NOTES: Rinne has been the winning goalie in each of Nashville's 13 victories this season. ... Nashville has scored first in eight of its 20 games. ... Wilson has goals in two of his last three games. ... Luongo is 16-13-4 against Nashville.