Nashville Predators Can’t Find Back To Back Wins in Florida

Feb 4, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Eeli Tolvanen (28) skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers during the third period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Eeli Tolvanen (28) skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers during the third period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators were riding high after their overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. On Friday, they found themselves on their last game of a four-game road trip and in another battle against the Panthers.

The Predators made a heroic push in the third period to take Thursday’s game to overtime. Filip Forsberg netted the game-winning goal in one of the most exciting games in recent memory.

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Unfortunately, the Predators were unable to bottle Thursday night’s magic, regressing to some old habits that cost them a chance to pick up two points in the standings.

How It All Went Down

Looking at the SOG, you would think that the Predators had a horrible 1st period. That was not the case.

Early in the first period, Colton Sissons took a feed from Roman Josi, hung with the play, and was rewarded with a goal, his second of the season. The Predators went into the locker room with the lead, which hasn’t happened very often this season.

Pekka Rinne stood on his head and made several classic “Rinne” saves. He faced a barrage of shots from the Panthers but stood tall.

In what remains one of life’s greatest mysteries, this Predators team can’t put together a strong second period. While this one wasn’t as bad as previous second periods, they still lost their lead and found themselves trailing into the third period.

Late in the second, Nick Cousins got into a few confrontations with Jonathan Huberdeau. Both players went to the locker room early.

The Predators attempted to muster one of their epic third-period pushes, but the Panthers clamped down, stifling the Predators’ ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone.

Erik Haula had a good chance with a breakaway to tie the game but shot the puck directly at Panther’s goaltender Chris Driedger, allowing him the easy save.

The referees finally blew the whistle in the Predators’ favor with 8 seconds on the clock. With Rinne out of the net, the Predators had a 6-on-4 advantage but couldn’t score. The Panthers won 2-1.

 The Nashville Predators Continue To Struggle

Although the Predators had the early lead in the first period, they only managed five shots on goal. The Panthers had 20 and spent lots of time in the Predators’ end of the rink throughout the game.

The Panthers were also able to hamper the Predators’ ability to move the puck and get set up in the offensive end. The Panther’s goaltender was never really tested and had a clear vision of the puck throughout the night.

The Predators just never got settled offensively and struggled to get looks at the net. Their stat sheet looks like a barren wasteland.

The Predators were without Ryan Johansen for this game due to an upper-body injury. Due to his continuing struggles to find the net, he may not have been a factor had he played.

The Predators did a better job of staying out of the penalty box. They only committed two penalties and were able to kill off both Panther power-plays. The Predators’ power-play only saw eight seconds of ice time at the end of the game.

The one bright spot of this loss was Rinne. He stopped 34 of the 36 shots that came his way. Had he not played as well tonight, the score would have been much worse.

Rinne has the hot hand at the moment and will get more starts in the short-term. He is playing like classic Rinne and is not ready to give up his starting job.

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The Predators head back home, only picking up two points in the standings out of a possible eight. They jump right back into the fire as the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town for back-to-back games beginning on Monday.

It is still relatively early in the season, but the clock is ticking for this Predators team. They always appear to be on the brink of putting their struggles behind them but can never build on any momentum that they gain.

If the Predators don’t turn things around pretty soon, some significant changes could be on the horizon for the Nashville Predators.