"Goaltending was the difference tonight and it had nothing to do with what went on at our end. The goals that were scored on us, there was a couple of breakdowns but certainly Pekka Rinne earns his keep every time he goes out. He had a heck of a game."
- Head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Trailing Despite Putting Up Shots: The Panthers found themselves trailing after the opening period but it wasn't for a lack of shots. Florida outshot the Predators 15-6 in the first 20 minutes and had a Tomas Fleischmann shot hit the post that didn't count toward that total. Despite putting on the pressure on Pekka Rinne, the Preds netminder stood tall and Andrei Kostistyn gave the Preds the lead on their third shot of the game. Taking the pass from Paul Gaustad on the rush, Kostistyn fired a wrist shot far side that went in off the pipe 11:35 into the period. Scott Clemmensen got a piece of it but it wasn't enough. It was a strong (shot wise) in rebounding from Thursday night's loss to the Jets.
2. Answering An Early Tally: The Senators got a huge two-goal lead just 28 seconds into the second period as Mike Fisher was set up by Martin Erat while stationed in the slot. It was an all-important two-goal lead, one that the Panthers have fallen victim to in four of their last five games. But the way that the Panthers were playing in the game, you knew they would get one by Rinne. That happened on a pretty passing play on the rush as Fleischmann found Marcel Goc who in turn found Wojtek Wolski for the wide open goal in which no netminder would have stopped. Wolski got the Panthers to within one with his second of the season (third point in five games since coming over in a trade with the Rangers) 7:49 into the second. That livened the Panthers as they put seven more shots on the Predators backstop the rest of the period.
3. The Rinne Wall: One of the NHL's best goaltenders would not let the Panthers beat him again as he finished the game strong with 16 more saves in the final period. Even though David Legwand made it a two-goal game once again 7:02 into the period, Florida came at the Predators with everything once again. They had a lot of energy. They just ran into a great netminder on his game as Rinne turned aside 39 shots on the night. The netminder tops the league in wins (33) and boasts a fantastic 2.33 goals against average and .926 save percentage following the victory.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.
@Habs_93: Those are the hardest games to watch #FlaPanthers out play the other team and still lose
@tylerdecker: I blame the #FlaPanthers loss on the fact that my Jersey didn't arrive in time.
@parrothead34: The #FlaPanthers have been outscored 10-1 in the past two games. However, I still believe.
@meadowsm: #FlaPanthers we look terrible...injury absences showing a lot. Looking to pickup tomorrow vs #Sens
Memorable fan posts from the game.
Kelly Diaz: Still a pretty good game could have used a bit more. Rinne is a bad a*$ goalie.
Jeff Main: Well, Rinne & Co. came for the win and got it. Congrats Preds. Florida will hopefully start to capitalize on their efforts hopefully sooner then later.
David Stepp: Would be very nice if the Cats had more scorers than shooters. More snipers than grinders. They did face Rinne, but still...
Kevin Moulton: Hard to blame Clem when his team got 1 goal tonight. Nashville is a tough team though.
1. The Panthers almost made it through an entire game without taking a penalty. It would have been the first time they did that this season but it was all for naught as Jason Garrison went to the box with 16.3 seconds left on the clock for hooking. 2. The Panthers finally got on the board off a nice play with Wojtek Wolski finishing off the rush 7:49 into the second period. It was the forward's second of the season (and with the Panthers) and the Cats second shot of the period.
28. It didn't take long for the Predators to stake themselves to a two-goal advantage as Martin erat set up Mike Fisher in the slot for his 19th of the season just 28 seconds into the second stanza.
40. The Panthers posted 40 shots on net for the 11th time this season but couldn't beat Pekka Rinne except for the Wolski shot. More shots has not meant more points in the standings however as Florida dropped to 2-4-5 when recording at least 40 shots on net.
100. Acquired on Monday in a trade deadline deal with Montreal, Andrei Kostitsyn got the Predators on the goal with their third shot of the game 11:35 into the first period. It was his first goal as a Predator but the 100th of his NHL career.
Gave the Preds a chance in the first to take the lead (15 saves) and then stopped all but one Panthers shot the rest of the night in stopping 39 shots for his 33rd victory.
Not a lot of time for the Panthers to think about this game as they're right back at it on Sunday with a 6pm start against the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa had Saturday off after falling at home to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday by a 2-1 final. It will be the fourth meeting between the two teams and Florida will be looking for their first victory of the season against their opponents (0-2-1). The Senators are led offensively by forward Jason Spezza (72 points in 66 games) and defenseman Erik Karlsson (66 points in 65 games). For Karlsson, the third year man leads all NHL blueliners by a wide margin in points (23 more than the Panthers Brian Campbell). In goal, former Panther Craig Anderson has seen the majority of the starts this season (54 games, 29-19-6 record) but is out with a hand injury. Robin Lehner has been leaned on in his absence and has faired extremely well, posting a 3-1 record with a .952 save percentage and a 1.51 goals against average.