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Panthers Wrap-Up: Predators 4, Panthers 3

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 2 1 0 3
Predators 1 1 2 0 4
FLA - J. Huberdeau (3), M. Goc (3), M. Gilroy (1)
NSH - S. Weber (1), M. Fisher (2), C. Smith (1), PPG - P. Hornqvist (2)

NASHVILLE, TN —  (AP) - Third-period goals by Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist held up for the Nashville Predators in a 4-3 victory against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.

Hornqvist gave Nashville a 4-2 lead 5:13 into the third when, on a power play, he skated off the end line to flip a sharp-angle shot past Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

"We had some chances at 4-3. We missed some chances at the end. [Jacob] Markstrom kept us in it. You have to take the positives from this game. We had a good effort…We had some lines clicking. We just have to be better defensively to help Markstrom."

- Forward Jonathan Huberdeau to the Miami Herald.
1. Bouncing Back Twice: After a lackluster performance by the team's standards on Sunday, the Panthers came out strong and played well for most of the game but found themselves trailing. It was a 1-0 game after the first period of play despite Florida holding a 9-6 shot advantage as Shea Weber's bomb from just inside the blueline gave the Predators a 1-0 lead 9:23 into the game. Jonathan Huberdeau would tie the game off a beautiful deke around a defenseman and then by Pekka Rinne to tie the game at one 1:16 into the second. Nashville's Mike Fisher gave the home team a lead 12:48 into the period but Marcel Goc, followed up on his own chance with the backhand over Rinne from in close just 42 seconds later.

2. Less Than Five: Heading into the third period, Florida felt good about their opportunities, coming back from deficits on two separate occasions but that was with them trailing by a goal. This time, Nashville would strike twice within the first 5:13 of the period for a 4-2 lead. First it was Craig Smith scoring 1:22 into the period. Gabriel Bourque shot the puck in on Jacob Markstrom on the rush and the Panthers netminder couldn't corral the rebound and with the puck free in the crease, Craig Smith pounced on the puck for the 3-2 lead. Then with Matt Gilroy in the box for interference, Patric Hornqvist scored from a tight angle as he took a stride in from the goal line and put a back hand past Markstrom.

3. Unlucky Number Three: With two goals that Markstrom and the Panthers would have liked back, they continued their attempt at a third comeback but down two, it was just too much. Gilroy made up for his penalty as he made it a one-goal game with 8:23 left in the game, scoring on the rush as his shot went in off David Legwand's stick as he was covering a crashing Aleksander Barkov. That was all the Panthers could find past Rinne as the netminder stopped the seven other Panthers shots. For Florida, it has been a continuence of the first seven games of good and not so good games. Unfortunately in two of them, they've fallen a goal short of at least taking a point from the game (Philadelphia).
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@laura_ramirez13: Those last few minutes gave me hope of what's to come in the future. @FlaPanthers keep your heads up boys!!

@Chubster777: #flaPanthers dropped a tough one! Need to get tougher on the road! @FlaPanthers

@dsilverstone29: That loss definetely stings. Good effort tonight @FlaPanthers

@Michaelocalypse: Well, at least some line combinations are starting to look good. #FlaPanthers

@NewEraInMiami: Its upsetting were 2-5 but good fight boys even though we lost 4-3 to #Nashville =( home Thursday vs #Boston! #FLAPanthers. 

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Mark Zola: I don't want close games...I want a clear win!

Matt Hepworth: Thought it was a good game tonight and a much better performance despite the loss. Hueberdeau in particular looked great. The 4th nashville goal was especially soft but things are looking up, just hope they keep improving now and pick up some wins

John Glenn Messick: We are a young team and it will take some time

Jeff Main: Tough loss, on to the next game!

Kenny Walker: looks like we're getting better every game, the wins will start coming along. the goaltending needs to improve.

1. It was a night of firsts for three Panthers players. Defenseman Mike Weaver picked up his first assist of the season meanwhile Jesse Winchester and Matt Gilroy recorded their first points in Panthers uniforms. Winchester assisted on Marcel Goc's goal that tied the game at two while Gilroy got the Panthers to within 4-3 with his first goal in a Panther uniform.

 A game after being whistled for a season low one minor penalty, the Panthers followed that up with just two minors as Nick Bjugstad went off for hooking in the first and Gilroy was in the box for interference in the third. Unfortunately, Gilroy's penalty was a killer as the Predators scored the eventual game-winner with the blueliner in the penalty box.

3. Jonathan Huberdeau is certainly starting to heat up. After going goalless in the first three games of the season, the reigning Calder Trophy winner has recorded goals in three of the last four games, scoring a beauty to tie the game at one early in the second period.

 Setting up Gilroy's third period goal, Tomas Fleischmann just continues to pick up points since signing as a free agent. Leading the Cats in the first two seasons, Fleischmann, sits atop the points list for the team, recording seven points (1-6-7) in seven games.

 A defensively sound opening two periods that saw 6 to 9 shots for each of the teams, Nashville posted 15 on Jacob Markstrom and the Panthers in the fateful third period where they potted two of their shots past Markstrom, including the game winner on the power play.

Craig Smith
Had a big hand in half of the Predators goals, beautifully setting up Mike Fisher for a 2-1 lead and then scoring on the rebound for a 3-2 lead.

1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Points, +2, 4 Shots, 13:52 TOI
Having played five of their first seven games on the road, the Panthers will look to use some home cooking to move back towards .500 and above. Florida will play a season-high six games at the BB&T Center, starting Thursday and ending on Friday, Nov. 1. The first game will see the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins make a visit in what hopefully also sees the return of Tim Thomas from injury as he, along with a lot of fans hope to see him take on the team that he led to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011. Boston will have been off since Monday where they fell 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. Boston has earned six points (3-2-0) in their first five games of the season and are led offensively by big power forward Milan Lucic (3-2-5). Taking over full time after the initial retirement by Thomas, Tuukka Rask has great numbers early for the Bruins, posting a 1.41 GAA and .951 SV%.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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