Nashville Predators 1, Florida Panthers 2: Not Great

With a shuffled lineup, the Preds just didn’t have it tonight against the Panthers.

The Predators followed their 6-1 win over the Lightning last night with a really lackluster performance in south Florida. They lost 2-1 to the Florida Panthers and were outplayed for most of the game.

This game also featured the debut of Vladislav Kamenev, the Predators much anticipated 2014 draft pick. He finished with 1 shot in 10:21 TOI and was basically a non factor. But hey, he got his debut on the books!

This one got off to a sluggish start. The Panthers tallied first on a pretty play by defenseman Greg “Tap the” McKegg. He deked and roofed one by Juuse Saros to put the Panthers up 1-0 just a few minutes into the opening frame. From there, the Preds just could not get any momentum going and struggled to gain meaningful possession in the offensive end.

I’d like to tell you the 2nd period was better. I’d really like to tell you that. But it was not. The Preds followed up eight shots in the 1st with six shots in the 2nd. And it didn’t even feel like six shots, to be honest. There was absolutely zero offensive momentum in the Panthers zone. The power play was inept. Neutral ice play was terrible. Zone exits were careless. Everything was pretty lifeless and boring for the Preds in the middle frame.

Except for Juuse Saros. He was great. He stopped 15 shots in the 2nd and kept the Preds in it.

The Predators finally kicked things into gear in the 3rd period and Craig Smith tied the game with 15 minutes to go in regulation. Things were looking pretty good! But then something terrible happened. Saros, who had played great the whole game, gave up a pretty terrible goal to Jonathan Marchessault to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

From there, the Preds lost all momentum and the Panthers prevailed. Like I said earlier, it was a pretty weak performance from the Preds all around. But given that they were missing three top offensive players, I suppose it was to be expected.

Can’t have too many more of these stinkers. Right?

Random Observations

  • James Reimer in net for the Panthers. Almost saw Reimer in the playoff series against San Jose last year, but the Sharks stuck with Martin Jones. Probably wise.
  • Preds back to allowing the first goal of the game I see.
  • That was a nice goal though. McKegg has some mitts.
  • Predators really missing Viktor Arvidsson right now. He’s been the Preds main engine for shot attempts this year. You can tell without him in the lineup that something is missing.
  • Saros recovered nicely after the first goal. Made 11 saves in the 1st period alone.
  • This team looks like it hasn’t skated in 24 days, though they did so 24 hours ago.
  • When you are missing your top three offensive players (Neal, Arvidsson, and Subban) it is bound to catch up with you. It is catching up with the Preds tonight.
  • Saros, on the other hand, has been great. He is right there when the Preds need him, gobbling up chance after chance that the Panthers throw his way. He has 26 saves through two periods.
  • Even the fights are lame tonight. Bleachhhh, this game really reminds me of that Sunday afternoon Jets game in late Novemeber which the Preds lost 3-0. (Please, tell me I didn’t just predict the final score of this game)
  • Craig Smith needed that goal in the worst way.
  • The Preds are finally pulling themselves out the rut and then Saros gives up a goal like that. Typical.
  • Pretty disappointing performance all around. Still, they had chances to win this one.
  • I think this makes three games in a row where the Preds were substantially outplayed. They are 1-1-1 in those three games. /

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Juuse Saros: The one goal was rough, but it could easily have been 4-0 or worse going into that 3rd period. His 32 saves were key.
  2. Craig Smith: Finally. A goal for Smitty. Good to see.
  3. No one else played well enough to get on this list. Sorry bout it.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

Game Video