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game recap

Arvidsson, Predators surge past Panthers, win third straight

Scores twice among four unanswered for Nashville in third period

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

Arvidsson's 20th of the season

NSH@FLA: Arvidsson blasts shot in off the post

Viktor Arvidsson rips a slap shot from the top of the circle that goes in off the post to give the Predators a 2-1 lead in the 3rd period

  • 00:49 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Nashville Predators scored four unanswered goals, including two by Viktor Arvidsson, in the third period of a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Friday.

"We started a little slow, but we got going," Arvidsson said. "In the second we played better and in the third we found our game really and scored four goals, and that's huge."

Roman Josi and Arvidsson scored 2:15 apart to give Nashville a 2-1 lead at 7:44. Arvidsson has seven goals in his past six games and 13 in 16 games since returning Dec. 27 from a thumb injury.


[WATCH: All Predators at Panthers highlights]


"He's been unreal since he came back from his injury," Josi said. "He's always been great. He goes to the net, he scores a lot of goals, he never gives up. He's the hardest-working guy out there. He deserves everything he gets because he works for it."

Kevin Fiala scored, and Juuse Saros made 27 saves for Nashville (31-18-4), which has won three in a row. Filip Forsberg had three assists.

Video: NSH@FLA: Fiala scores terrific goal to extend lead

Jonathan Huberdeau scored, and Roberto Luongo made 22 saves for the Panthers (20-21-8), who had won three straight.

"We didn't play the way we wanted in the third," Huberdeau said. "We were up one goal and we let up. We gave up a lot of chances that we didn't in the first and the second."

Center Derick Brassard and forward Riley Sheahan, acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, did not play.

Nashville trailed 1-0 before Josi made it 1-1 at 5:29 of the third with a high wrist shot inside the far post from the left face-off circle.

Arvidsson made it 2-1 with a slap shot from the top of the right circle.

"I don't know if I fanned on it or it took a weird angle on him," Arvidsson said. "I just tried to rip it at the net as quick as I could and there was a stick in the way. Nice to see it go in."

Fiala made it 3-1 at 14:10 after Florida defenseman Mike Matheson misplayed a bouncing puck in the Panthers zone.

Arvidsson scored into an empty net with 1:56 remaining for the 4-1 final.

"It was building up, especially the second period," Forsberg said. "I thought we were playing pretty good in the second period too and obviously had a lot of chances. [Luongo] played great in net. We kept pushing and got rewarded in the third."

Huberdeau made it 1-0 on the power play at 15:15 of the second period with a wrist shot from the left circle. He became the fourth Panthers player, and first since Olli Jokinen in 2006-07, to reach 50 points before Florida's 50th game. He has 13 goals and 37 assists playing in all 49 games.

Video: NSH@FLA: Huberdeau snaps shot past Saros for PPG

Each team was playing its first game since the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend followed by its mandatory five-day break. Florida last played Jan. 21, Nashville on Jan. 23.

"For being off that long, I thought we had a good first period," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "I liked our second period. In the third period was just a couple bounces they executed on. We had our chances, but Saros played good. He shut us down at the right times. We couldn't seem to find that next one."

Saros allowed one goal or fewer for the fourth time in six starts, including a 2-1 victory at the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 23 when he made an NHL career-high 47 saves.

"He's played two games really strong, which is great," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We need that from him. I'd say his last probably nine or 10 starts have been really strong."

Video: NSH@FLA: Saros flashes the leather on Huberdeau


They said it

"I thought it was a good game for us start to finish; 5-on-5 I really liked it. I thought against a team that's pretty good offensively and has good numbers offensively, I thought we did a good job defensively." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette


"We need these points. We can't get down on ourselves too much. Tomorrow [we're] right back at it. If we win, after that we've just got to start another streak." -- Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau


Need to know

Nashville went 0-for-2 on the power play and is 0-for-27 over its past eight games. ... Arvidsson has 21 goals and has scored at least 20 for a third consecutive season. … Josi was plus-4. … Florida forward Mike Hoffman had a game-high seven shots. … Besides Huberdeau and Jokinen, Panthers players who reached 50 points before Florida's 50th game were Scott Mellanby in 1995-96 and Pavel Bure in 1999-2000. … Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar was activated from injured reserve Friday but did not play.


What's next

Predators: Host the Dallas Stars on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-SW+, NHL.TV)

Panthers: Host the Vegas Golden Knights (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Arvidsson, Forsberg pace Predators past Panthers, 4-1

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