Saturday, November 22, 2014

Predators Blow 2 Goal Lead But Defeat the Panthers In A Shootout 3-2

The Nashville Predators returned home to face the Florida Panthers, and for 59 minutes, they dominated the Panthers.

Unfortunately for the Predators, it is a 60 minute game. with the Predators sitting on a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead, the Panthers scored 2 goals 12 seconds apart in the final minute of the game to force overtime.

The Predators eventually won the game in a shootout thanks to a goal by Filip Forsberg and solid goaltending by Pekka Rinne.

The Predators threw 50 shots at Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo. This game had the makings of one in which the Predators would throw a monstrous number of shots at the net but couldn't solve the goaltender.

That changed when Colin Wilson somehow snuck a shot through Luongo at 18:28 of the second period. Wilson put a shot on net from almost at the goal line and it trickled through Luongo to make it 1-0.

The Predators looked to salt the game away when Matt Cullen chipped a puck over Luongo at 13:01 of the third period to make it 2-0.

To this point of the game, the Predators had limited the scoring chances of the Panthers, and when they had a good look, Pekka Rinne had cleaned up any scoring chances.

That changed in the last minute of the game as first Rocco Grimaldi was able to redirect a puck past Rinne at 19:17 to make it 2-1.

Nick Bjusgstad tied the game just 12 seconds later with a shot from the face off circle that beat Rinne.

Improbably, the Panthers had tied the game and forced overtime.

The Predators had 5 shots on goal in the extra period while the Panthers did not register a shot on net.

In the shootout, fillip Forsberg was the only scorer, beating Luongo five hole, while Rinne made some good saves and looked sharp in stopping all the Panthers shooters for a 3-2 win.

Some observations:

  • This game never should have gotten to a shootout. With one minute to go, this team needs to lock down the opposition. They had done a good job of limiting a talented Panthers team to that point, but fell apart in the last minute. Frankly, they were lucky to get the second point.

  • I really like the play of the line of Calle Jarnkrok, Colin Wilson, and Craig Smith. this line is creative and plays with speed and energy. they created some good scoring chances and are emerging as a threat when they are on the ice. Wilson in particular is playing with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

  • Roberto Luongo was spectacular for the Panthers. He was under pressure all night as the Predators peppered him with 50 shots on goal and he made some good saves. Kudos to the Predators for keeping up the intensity and pressure and finally cracking him for two goals.

  • The geriatric line- Matt Cullen, Derk Roy, and Olli Jolinen are playing well and have recorded goals in the last two games. They are developing some good chemistry and starting to contribute offensively, which this team needs them to do.

  • The Predators are 7-1 when leading after two periods.

  • The Predators power play continues to struggle. Tonight, they were 0-4. this unit needs to get their success rate up quickly.

  • The 50 shots on goal was a season high for the Predators.

  • Aaron Ekblad is going to be a very good NHL defenseman. He is strong, positionally sound, and was a +2 with an assist tonight.

  • Nick Bjugstad continues his strong play with a goal tonight to tie the game. He has been a very good player for the Panthers, especially over the past 10 games with a real nose for the net and a scorers touch.
Well, this was a game of mixed emotions. Solid, consistent offensive pressure all night and a two goal lead looked to have this game locked up. A collapse in the last minute forced the Predators to win in a shootout.

It is a win and that is a good thing.

Next time, let's play for the full 60 minutes.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Roberto Luongo

3. Pekka Rinne

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