Predators hang in to best Panthers in shootout 3-2

The Florida Panthers are trying to establish that a playoff spot and prove they are for real.  They are trying to catch the Rangers and Bruins for the final wild card spot in the east so every point for them is huge. The Nashville Predators are in the opposite position as they are leaders of the Central division and flip flopping with the Anaheim Ducks for best team in the west.

There is no question that the Florida Panthers had the better energy level throughout the game with the Predators coming in off of back to back games with a hard fought 3-2 win over the NY Rangers the day before in Nashville but when push came to shove it was Nashville that had the finish in their game.

The Panthers absolutely dominated play five on five and had the better energy and puck retrieval but Nashville was the better team on the special teams. The Panthers dominated in shots in regulation with an edge in shots of 32-23

The game saw Roberto Luongo in net for the Panthers and Carter Hutton in nets for the Nashville Predators.  Both goalies played very well.

The game saw a scoreless first period but the Cats  had a couple of goals in the second from Tomas Fleischmann and a beauty of a goal from Aaron Ekblad. Ekbland cam in off the rush and was tripped so there was a delayed penalty that was not needed as Ekblad  got up and went behind the net and wrapped it passed Hutton for 2-0 Panthers lead which is how the period ended.

The third period saw the Predators tighten up the game to a one goal lead when Seth Jones scored on a power play with a partially screened Luongo.

Late in the third the Panthers Kopecky took a slashing penalty and the Panthers gave up another power play goal to the dangerous Filip Forsberg to tie the game at two with only four minutes and some change left in the game.

As the game wore on the Predators looked gassed but managed to hold on to get the point and push the game to overtime.

The overtime was wild and wooly with the teams trading good scoring chances and very few whistles it was none stop action.  Neither team however was able to get it past the goalies so off to the shoot out they went. Florida you really need to get out and watch and support this team they are fun to watch.

In the shoot out the shooters were for the Panthers Pirri, Boyes who scored, and Bjugstad who scored, & Bolland, and for the Predators Cullen who scored, Smith who scored,  Josi and Forsberg scored to win the game.

Nashville is a very good team and managed to separate themselves from the Blues with them losing to Chicago earlier. The Panthers need to wait to see what Boston now does, but did manage to pick up a point.

Three Stars of the game:

1.    F. Forsberg

2.    A. Ekblad

3.    C. Hutton

 Next game for the Panthers is Tuesday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET vs the Anaheim Ducks watch on FS F;

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