5 Takeaways: Panthers Winning Streak Snapped in Loss to Predatorsby Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com
SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers saw their three-game winning streak come to an end in their first game out of the break, surrendering four unanswered goals in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday night at BB&T Center.
"They got a couple of goals and started playing well in the third period," Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. "They got the momentum and scored a couple goals. We just couldn't come back. We had our chances, but we just didn't score."
After a back-and-forth first 20 minutes, the Panthers broke the ice in the second period on a power-play goal from Jonathan Huberdeau that put Florida up 1-0 at 15:15. In the third though, Nashville found new life when Roman Josi tied the game 1-1 just 5:29 into the final frame.
From there, the Predators went on the attack, as Viktor Arvidsson made it 2-1 with a slap shot from the top of the right circle just 2:15 after Josi's goal. Then, with 5:50 left in regulation, Kevin Fiala made it 3-1 when he beat Roberto Luongo after cutting through the defense in the slot.
With 1:56 left on the clock, Arvidsson put the game out of reach at 4-1 with an empty netter.
"They found a way to get the second goal," Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. "It's an even game with 12 minutes go against a good team. I thought the first period I was satisfied with. I knew we had better, but being off that long I thought we had a good first period. I liked our second period and, again, in the third period it was just a couple bounces that they executed on."
Here are five takeaways from Friday night's loss in Sunrise…
1. HUBERDEAU HITS 50
Florida's scoring leader heading into the break, Huberdeau picked up right where he left off on Friday night, firing a wrist shot on the power play past Juuse Saros, who was a victim of a mammoth screen from Barkov, to put the Panthers up 1-0 at 15:15 of the second period.
Video: NSH@FLA: Huberdeau snaps shot past Saros for PPG
With the goal, the 25-year-old winger tallied his team-leading 50th point, becoming just the fourth player in the franchise's 25-year history to reach that lofty mark within the first 50 games of the season, joining Pavel Bure (1999-00), Scott Mellanby (1995-96) and Olli Jokinen (2006-07).
"We didn't play the way we wanted in the third," Huberdeau said of the loss. "We were up one goal and we let in some goals that we probably shouldn't have. I think we gave up a lot of chances in the third."
Huberdeau, who's now up to 13 goals and 37 assists this season, led all forwards with 22:18 of ice time against the Predators.
2. ALL-STAR EFFORT
Like Huberdeau, Keith Yandle got back to doing what he does best quickly.
With the primary assist on Huberdeau's goal, the 2019 All-Star picked up his 25th power-play point of the season, which ranks fifth in the NHL and first among all defensemen. In addition to his work on the man advantage, he also leads Florida's blueliners in assists (32) and points (39).
Entering the night with the third-ranked power play in the NHL (26.8 percent), the Panthers have now lit the lamp with the extra attacker in 30 of their last 40 games. Overall, they've gone 40-for-134 (29.9 percent) on the power play since Nov. 1, which ranks first in the NHL.
But after going 1-for-6 against the Predators, including a 5-on-3 chance for 34 seconds in the second period, the Panthers feel they could have done more damage on the man advantage.
"We had a lot of chances," Boughner said. "The 5-on-3, I think we loaded Hoff [Mike Hoffman] up three times. One hit [Saros] in the helmet, a couple went high. But that's what we're looking for on that 5-on-3. That goes in, it's 2-0…At the end of the day, I thought we played OK. We just couldn't find the next goal to build the lead in a 1-0 game against a team like that."
3. STILL CAN KILL
The Panthers continue to impress while shorthanded.
Entering the night in the midst of an outstanding 26-for-28 stretch on the penalty kill, the Cats stifled both of Nashville's opportunities on the power play on Friday night, limiting the Predators to just three shots on goal when they had the extra attacker on the ice.
Since Dec. 29, Florida's 93.3 percent success rate on the penalty kill ranks second in the NHL.
4. NEW CATS ON THE BLOCK
The Panthers welcomed some fresh new faces to the territory prior to Friday night's contest, sending Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and three draft picks (a second and two fourths) in the 2019 draft.
Prior to the trade, Brassard, 31, has registered nine goals and six assists in 40 games, while Sheahan, 27, had tallied seven goals and two assists in 49. And although they didn't make it to Sunrise in time for tonight's game, Boughner expects both to suit up tomorrow against Vegas.
"Unfortunately those guys couldn't get in for the game. That would have helped," Boughner said. "I'm excited to see them tomorrow. I know Derick. I coached him in Columbus when I was there. I know we're getting two quality guys that have some playoff experience, obviously, and some veteran help. I think that's going to help us here down the stretch."
You can read more about the trade HERE.
5. EK AUDIO
Aaron Ekblad had a little extra equipment on during Friday night's game, donning a microphone for FOX Sports Florida to give fans a taste of what is said on the ice and bench during games.
You can catch some of the highlights in the tweets below!