In what turned out to be a thriller, the Florida Panthers came up short in a 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators.
The Panthers came back from 1-0, and 2-1 but after falling behind 4-2 in the third, they could only muster one more goal failing to find the equalizer in Nashville. Here are some quick thoughts on the loss:
- First off I have to say, wow! That was one hell of a game, probably the most exciting game the Panthers have played this season. Despite the loss, the Panthers put on a thrilling display of resilience. The expectation going into the game was that we would see a defensive battle between two teams struggling to score but what we got instead was a wide open game played at a frenetic pace. These are the kinds of games that hockey fans live for. There was constant end-to-end action, big saves and even bigger goals.
- The Panthers defenders jumped up on offense the entire game. We have come to expect that from Brian Campbell but tonight Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov and Matt Gilroy consistently got involved in the play and it payed off. Dmitry Kulikov crashing the net played a big role in opening up space on Jonathan Huberdeau‘s goal and in the third period, Matt Gilroy scored the first goal by a Panthers d-man this season to bring the Panthers within one.
- Florida came out strong in the first period but ended conceding the first goal anyway. That has been a recurring theme for the Panthers. It seems like they always control the pace of the game from the start but still end up down 1-0. That kind of thing can really take the wind out of the sails but to the Panthers credit they never showed any signs of quitting.
- Nick Bjugstad made his season debut after sitting out the first six games with a concussion. He only played 9:48 as head coach Kevin Dineen shortened the bench in the third period with the Panthers attempting to make the comeback.
- Jacob Markstrom was a mixed bag tonight stopping 26 of 30. The two goals in the third were a bit shaky but that being said, the Panthers left Markstrom out to dry on a number of occasions and he came through with a number of huge saves to keep the game close.
- On a related note: when Bill Lindsey says, “Markstrom would like to have that one back,” after a goal it is really code for: that is a save that Markstrom should have made.
- Jonathan Huberdeau scored a magnificent goal in the second period. It was his third of the season and it tied the score up at one goal apiece. Check it out:
- Whenever the Selena Gomez at the BB&T Center ad plays, I get a chuckle when the the announcer says, “Selena Gomez playing all her hits.”
- Towards the end of the game Shea Weber and Jonathan Huberdeau got into in the Predators defensive zone. Hubs didn’t back down against the physically superior Weber and he gave as good as he got.
- I had mixed feelings about Matt Gilroy’s game tonight. He obviously is a factor on the offensive end but he also coughed up a lot of pucks in the defensive zone. That being said, he is a nice addition on the Panthers blue line and Kevin Dineen must have liked what he saw as Gilroy was rewarded with a lot of ice-time in the third period.
- Overall it was an incredibly exciting game and while the Panthers lost, they played a hell of a game. It was the kind of game that could jumpstart a winning streak and we will see if it gives the Panthers a momentum boost when they take on the Bruins in Florida on Thursday.
- The goal scorers for Florida tonight were Jonathan Huberdeau (3), Marcel Goc (3) and Matt Gilroy (1). The assists came from Gomez (3), Weaver (1), Winchester (1), Matthias (2), Fleischmann (6) and Boyes (2).
- The Panthers return home for a six game home stand starting Thursday against the Boston Bruins. Tim Thomas could be back in time from his groin strain to make the start against his former team.
- The loss drops the Panthers record to 2-5-0.
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