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Preds 3, Panthers 6

Monday, 09.16.2013 / 5:18 PM CT / News
By Jimi Russell  - Nashville Predators
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Preds 3, Panthers 6

Nashville Goals:  Henderson (0:44 of the first period) Assists: Gaustad
                                Forsberg (7:39 of the first period) Assists: Ford, Wilson
                                Weber (PPG, 19:27 of the first period) Assists: Cullen, Wilson

Nashville opened up its preseason slate on Monday afternoon with the first of two tilts against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla.

The Predators were able to jump out to an early lead with goals from Kevin Henderson and Filip Forsberg, but penalties and fatigue caught up with the Preds as they fell to the Panthers, 6-3. Captain Shea Weber added a power-play goal late in the first, but former Pred Scottie Upshall tallied two goals, while young defenseman Erik Gudbranson also notched a pair to up end Nashville.

While this will show up as a loss in the preseason standings, it gave the Predators coaching staff a much needed look at their roster heading into season. Monday afternoon’s roster, much like the roster for the nightcap, was made up of players who will make the NHL roster out of camp and younger players in the Predators’ system.

Three Big Things

Getting off to a good start: Throughout the season, it will pivotal for the Preds to get off to good starts, and that is what they were able to do on Monday afternoon. Kevin Henderson started things off for Nashville just 44 seconds into the game as he buried a feed from Paul Gaustad. The Preds kept the heat on early, even after a Scottie Upshall goal, as Filip Forsberg tallied his first goal of the preseason less than seven minutes later. Shea Weber closed out a strong first period with a power-play goal with just 33 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

Power play looks good: Just two seasons removed from leading the League in power-play efficiency, the Predators look for marked improvement on special teams. Nashville held four man-advantages in the game, converting the second chance late in the first. Even though the Preds only tallied once on the PP, they were able to move the puck around and generate a couple of good scoring chances. Assistant Coach Phil Housley has been charged with turning the power play around and there was a notable difference in the way the Preds cycled the puck with the advantage.

Playing through the pain: During my postgame interview with Head Coach Barry Trotz, he commented that the guys have been going hard at practice the past couple of days and that hard work may have caught up with them a little bit this afternoon. Nashville also traveled Monday morning – an instance that does not happen during the regular season. Look for the Preds to be well-rested for Thursday’s tilt in Tampa.

Quotes:

Shea Weber on frustrations of playing with unfamiliar teammates: “We can’t make excuses. We weren’t good enough today – we didn’t win battles. They play a very structured and we weren’t able to generate anything after the first period.”

Brendan Leipsic on playing his first game against NHL-caliber players: “I thought it went alright. It was hard at first adjusting to the speed of the game, but as the game went on it got a little better. We need to get more pucks to the net, but overall, it was a good first experience.”

Head Coach Barry Trotz on this afternoon’s game: “I think we got away from our game and we turned too many pucks over. When you turn too many pucks over, you end up spending too much time in your own end. We also took too many penalties and that was really taxing. We hit a wall in the second period because we’ve had a real hard camp and we’ve pushed these guys to extremes. We just didn’t have any legs in the third period and it showed.”

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
8 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 50 22 25 3 130 147 47
13 WPG 51 22 26 3 132 148 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 52 10 27 -4 37
S. Weber 52 13 20 -6 33
J. Neal 52 18 13 16 31
M. Ribeiro 52 6 25 1 31
F. Forsberg 52 14 16 -9 30
M. Ekholm 52 6 16 1 22
R. Ellis 51 6 15 0 21
C. Smith 52 11 6 -1 17
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
C. Jarnkrok 51 8 7 -3 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 19 17 7 .903 2.51
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36