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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 5, Predators 4 (SO)

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

5-4 (SO)
1 2 3 OT SO T
Panthers 2 1 1 0 2-6 5
predators 1 1 0 0 1-6 4
FLA - B. Boyes (11), T. Kopecky (4), S. Bergenheim (9), M. Goc (8), SO - T. Kopecky
NYR - C. Smith (12), M. Fisher (11), S. Jones (4), P. Gaustad (6)

SUNRISE —  ( - With captain Ed Jovanovski in the lineup for the first time this season, the Florida Panthers wrapped up a five-game homestand on a winning note Saturday. But they almost let the victory slip away.

Tomas Kopecky scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Panthers a 5-4 win against the Nashville Predators after they had squandered a 4-2 lead in the last 5:08 of regulation.

"It wasn't pretty but it felt pretty good. You want to beat your former team and they're all friends over there. The main thing is we need to keep moving forward, find ways to win. We let them tie it up but they stayed on point, got the extra point.."

- Panthers head coach Peter Horachek
1. The Killer B's: The line with wingers Sean Bergenheim and Brad Boyes centered by rookie Aleksander Barkov continued their hot play of late. After Nashville got on the board 6:32 in as Craig Smith scored in close, Boyes pounced on a Barkov rebound to tie the game less than five minutes later. Then after Nashville tied the game at two in the second period with Mike Fisher finding the back of the net, the trio gave the Cats the lead for good just 57 seconds later. Bergenheim attempted a shot but didn't get all of it but the puck found Barkov. The 18-year old fed it back to Bergenheim who made no mistake about it a second time, scoring with 2:31 left in the second. The trio, combining for five points on the night, Bergenheim has five goals in his last five games, Barkov has 11 points in 11 games, including a five-game point streak and Boyes has five points (2-3-5) during a three-game point streak.

2. A Second Scoring Line: When the Killer B line wasn't scoring for the Panthers it was the newly formed Tomas Kopecky, Jonathan Huberdeau and Marcel Goc. Kopecky gave the Cats a 2-1 lead as he scored off the feed with 2:04 left in the first and then Huberdeau picked up his second assist of the game finding Goc from behind the net 1:34 into the third. The trio also combined for five points with the second goal giving the Panthers what looked to be an insurmountable 4-2 lead.

3. Harder Than It Needed To Be: Nashville would not go away however as they scored twice in the final five minutes of play. Rookie defenseman Seth Jones stepped into a shot with 5:08 remaining to make it a one goal game and then with the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, Paul Gaustad stuffed in a puck laying in the crease with 48 seconds left on the clock to force overtime. Overtime solved nothing and this woudl be solved in the shootout for the second straight game. After falling to the Rangers via the one-on-one session on Tuesday, this time it was the Cats victorious. Jonathan Huberdeau tied the extra session at one a piece in the second round after David Legwand scored a shot earlier and despite three more attempts it would take until the bottom of the sixth round for Kopecky to score the next goal, the game winner. All that matters is how they got the two points come the next day. What made it even sweeter was that it was captain Ed Jovanovski's first game of the season as he returned from hip surgery.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@darbzz1209: Best game I've ever been to. @FlaPanthers

@BenBonin88: @FlaPanthers @goldieonice Cant be happier with my first home Panthers game! Shootout win!

@cwscott2006: Great stuff @FlaPanthers! We keep clawing our way up the standings!

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Gabriel Nagy: Mr.Kopyyy-again!!!:)OMG,what a game...Thank You guys!:)))

Greg Coppens: Great win guys!

Andrew Mikolich: Keep this energy going!

1. Giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead, Tomas Kopecky netted his fourth goal of the season. The goal however was his first on home ice.

4. The Panthers got goals from four different skaters and four different players had multi-point games with Marcel Goc and Brad Boyes scoring and picking up an assist while Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau collecting two assists.

5. The streak continues for rookie Barkov. Recording the first assist on Brad Boyes' goal, Barkov now has a season-high five-game point streak (1-4-5). The streak is tied for the second longest among rookies this season, one behind Calgary's Sean Monahan.

6. Just call him the closer. Chosen to shoot in the sixth round of the shootout, Kopecky came through with his second shootout game-winner of the season. The Panthers earned their fifth shootout victory of the 2013-14 campaign.

55. It was great to see 55 back in the lineup Saturday night. Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski finished a plus-3 with a shot on goal in 15:54 of ice time in his first game of the season and first since March 16, 2013 (vs NY Islanders).

Tomas Kopecky
Gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead with his fourth of the season and then gave them the two points with his goal in the sixth round of the shootout.

1 Goal, 1 Point, 3 Shots, +2, 18:56 TOI
Florida now hits the road for a three-game trip to the Northeast as they travel to Montreal, Buffalo and New Jersey next week. The Panthers will look to stay unbeaten against the Canadiens on Monday, having won the first two meetings of the season. The Cats earned a 2-1 victory in Montreal on Dec. 15 as Jesse Winchester and Nick Bjugstad scored and followed that up with a 4-1 win at the BB&T Center on Dec. 29 as four different Panthers netted goals. Scott Clemmensen picked up both wins this season. Montreal, who fell 4-3 in overtime to Ottawa on Saturday night, is third in the Atlantic Division with a 24-14-5 record for 53 points in 44 games. They're led offensively by defenseman PK Subban (33 points in 43 games) and Tomas Plekanec (26 points in 43 games). Netminder Carey Price has an 19-11-4 record with a .927 save percentage and 2.26 GAA.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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