Preds 2, Panthers 3 (OT)
Nashville Goal Scorers: Smith (12:57 of the first period) Assists: Beck, Fisher
Bourque (11:30 of the first period) Assists: Legwand, Hornqvist
The Predators closed out their two-game set against the Florida Panthers on Monday night with a hard-fought game that ended on a tipped goal in overtime.
Craig Smith opened the scoring for Nashville on an odd-man rush midway through the opening frame. Mike Fisher raced into the zone and dropped a pass to Taylor Beck, who fired the shot on net. Florida’s Jacob Markstrom kicked the shot aside, but it deflected right onto Smith’s stick and he buried it into the net. Florida tied the game 13 seconds later on a goal from Jared Gomes.
The second time was a charm for Gabriel Bourque, who jammed away at a loose puck until it slid past Markstrom at the 11:30 mark of the second. Bourque was tenacious in front of the net all game and his efforts paid off for him tonight.
Tomas Kopecky once again tied the game midway through the final frame, and the score remained tied when the buzzer sounded on regulation.
In the extra frame, the Preds peppered the Panthers net with shots, but it was Tomas Fleischmann who got the last laugh as he tipped a shot past Carter Hutton with just 47 second left in overtime.
Three Big Things
Being hard to play against: With his offseason moves this summer, General Manager David Poile made one thing clear – the Nashville Predators are going to be hard to play against in 2013, and the team took their their first step in that direction on Monday night. The Predators racked up 27 hits, with Bourque, Eric Nystrom and Scott Valentine all collecting four a piece. Michael Liambas also dropped the gloves during the first period. Liambas’s fight was the third for the Predators on Monday following Rich Clune and Paul Gaustad’s bouts in the afternoon tilt. Nashville set a tone in both games on Monday and they will be taxing on all of their opponents this season.
Taylor Beck came to play: The second-year forward wanted to concentrate on the speed aspect of his game this offseason and he was noticeably faster in Monday night’s game. Beck showed a lot of poise with the puck, took the puck hard to the net and used his newly found speed to open up space and create scoring chances. If Beck continues to play as he did Monday night, he will have a good shot at making the Preds opening night roster.
Carter Hutton makes his case: Head Coach Barry Trotz has already named Hutton his back-up goaltender for 2013-14 season, but his lack of experience may have left some Preds fans feeling leery about the man behind Pekka Rinne. On Monday night, Hutton looked confident, turning away 24 of 27 shots in 64 minutes of action, including a couple of good scoring chances late in the game. The 27-year-old netminder was composed in all situations and flashed some quick reflexes. Even in the loss, Hutton showed he is more than ready to back-up Rinne this coming season.
Seth Jones on playing his first game against NHL-caliber talent: “I felt good, I felt really good. I got my feet under me and moved the puck around pretty well. I played with Josi tonight and he made it easy on me. Like I said, I felt really good out there. I know I can play at this level, it’s preseason right now and I know the regular season with be faster, but I felt good.”
Head Coach Barry Trotz on Seth Jones’ play tonight: “Seth played big minutes with Roman Josi tonight. I think the pace and the hard training camp is getting to a lot of guys, but Seth played well. His transition game is very good and he played big minutes against their top talent tonight.”