Preds fall to Panthers twice on the road

The Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers started their 2013 preseason facing each other twice Monday at BB&T Center. Florida was able to get the best of Nashville in both matches winning 6-3 in regulation and 3-2 in overtime.

Heading into the first intermission, the Predators held a 3-1 lead thanks to goals by Kevin Henderson, Filip Forsberg and Shea Weber (PP). The Panthers stormed back, however, to score five unanswered goals by by Erik Gudbranson (2), Brad Boyes, Scottie Upshall and Quinton Howden. 

Nashville was severely out-shot in the third period, 20-5, which ultimately led to their downfall in the loss. The lack of offense left goalies Marek Mazanec and Scott Darling out to dry. Mazanec played the first and second periods stopping a total of eighteen shots, letting in three goals, while Darling played the third period saving seventeen of twenty shots faced.

Captain Shea Weber received a lot of playing time from head coach Barry Trotz — a total of 26:59. It does come as a surprise, but it does make sense because it allows Weber to get his skating legs ready. 

The starting line for the forwards was Filip Forsberg and Colin Wilson, who were centered by new-comer Matt Cullen. They appeared to have some success, linking up for the second goal of the game by Forsberg.

Former-Preds Marcel Goc, Jed Ortmeyer and the aforementioned Upshall totaled four points. Goc and Ortmeyer had assists, while Upshall lit the lamp twice.

Scoring Summary

1-0 NSH: Kevin Henderson – Gaustad at 0:44 in the 1st

1-1 tie: PP Scottie Upshall – Robak and Gudbranson at 6:01 in the 1st

2-1 NSH: Filip Forsberg – Ford and C. Wilson at 7:39 in the 1st

3-1 NSH: PP Shea Weber – Cullen and C. Wilson (2) at 19:27 in the 1st

3-2 NSH: Erik Gudbranson – Goc at 14:14 in the 2nd

3-3 tie: PP Erik Gudbranson (2) – Matsumoto at 18:13 in the 2nd

3-4 FLA: Brad Boyes – Shore and G. Wilson at 12:44 in the 3rd

3-5 FLA: Scottie Upshall (2) – Ortmeyer and Trocheck at 13:23 in the 3rd

3-6 FLA: Quinton Howden – Trocheck (2) at 15:39 in the 3rd

On to the second game now…

Nashville once again put the first point on the scoreboard thanks to a goal by Craig Smith, but it was quickly answered back by Panthers' forward Josh Gomes thirteen seconds later. Gomes had an outstanding game being everywhere on the ice, trying hard to get a contract in their organization. 

Gabriel Bourque, who is playing in his first game since shoulder surgery, scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period. 

On the powerplay in the third period, rookie and second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft Aleksander Barkov recorded his first NHL preseason assist on a Tomas Kopecky goal to tie the game and force overtime. It was Tomas Fleischmann who scored the game-winner 4:13 into the overtime period off a deflection from defenseman Brett Clark.

Carter Hutton, who is supposed to be Pekka Rinne's backup this upcoming season, was given the whole game to play in. Hutton stopped twenty-four shots in his Predators' preseason debut — a solid effort compared to how the game was earlier Monday.

Also making his Preds' preseason debut was Seth Jones, who logged a team-leading 25:45 of ice time and had a -1 rating. Jones was paired alongside Roman Josi.

Trotz is looking like he wants to reunite the line of Gabriel Bourque, David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist in order to grind an opponent's top lines by using their speed and forechecking. This has been a stellar line in the past and bringing them back together would be a major plus for Nashville.

Scoring Summary

1-0 NSH: Craig Smith – Beck and Fisher at 12:57 in the 1st

1-1 tie: Josh Gomes – unassisted at 13:10 in the 1st

2-1 NSH: Gabriel Bourque – Legwand and Hornqvist at 11:30 in the 2nd

2-2 tie: PP Tomas Kopecky – Barkov and Weegar at 10:11 in the 3rd

2-3 FLA: GWG Tomas Fleischmann – Clark and Kopecky at 4:13 in OT