NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - J.P. Dumont found the perfect way to make up for his giveaway that led to a Florida goal late in the second period.
Dumont and David Legwand scored early in the third period, and Dan Ellis made 23 saves to help the Nashville Predators beat the Panthers 4-1 on Saturday night.
Dan Hamhuis and Joel Ward also scored for Nashville, coming off a 3-1 home loss to St. Louis on Friday night that snapped their winning streak at seven games.
Jordan Leopold scored for the Panthers. Florida has lost four in a row.
"Third periods have been our Achilles' heel this year," Leopold said. "We weren't sharp in the third period, it is as simple as that."
Dumont made it 2-1 68 seconds into the third period, scoring off a rebound. With goalie Scott Clemmensen down, Dumont kicked the rebound onto his backhand before lifting the puck high to the stick side for his fifth goal of the season.
"I knew I had time when I got the rebound," Dumont said. "I knew he was coming across and covering the bottom part of the net, and I just had to take my time. I had the top of the net wide open."
Just over 4 minutes later, Legwand gave Nashville a 3-1 lead.
Nashville's Jordin Tootoo sent a long pass from the neutral zone that Legwand was able to corral after fending off defenseman Bryan Allen. Legwand was then able to beat Clemmensen with a backhander between the pads.
"We had a really good second period, then we shot ourselves in the foot," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "We just can't afford to make mistakes like we made in the third period, it costs us games."
Hamhuis opened the scoring late in the opening period when his slap shot from the left point deflected off of Panthers center Kamil Kreps and past Clemmensen. The goal was Hamhuis' first of the season, and first since Feb. 12, a span of 47 games.
"I guess I can't lie, it's been on my mind," Hamhuis said. "Finally, tonight one got through and went in."
The Panthers tied it at 15:14 of the second period on Leopold's third goal of the season. An errant pass inside the Florida zone by Dumont sent the Panthers the other way on a 2-on-1. Leopold beat Dan Ellis high to the stick side with a slap shot.
"That turnover there was a busted up play, and they ended up scoring, giving them some momentum," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "It was good that one of our leadership group stepped up and was able to get that goal back."
Ellis made his first appearance since Nov. 10, finally giving starter Pekka Rinne a night off after he played Nashville's last eight games, winning seven of them.
"To get the win tonight was important for myself after sitting that long," Ellis said. "Our 'D' played outstanding tonight."
Ward capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.
NOTES: Nashville RW Martin Erat played in his 500th career NHL game, all with the Predators. ... Tootoo has assists in Nashville's last four games, a career high. ... Legwand has a five-game points streak, matching his career high. ... Florida LW Kenndal McArdle left the game in the second period with a right arm injury immediately following his second fight of the game with Tootoo.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On rebounding after a loss…
I think the guys realized that we lost last night. We don’t want teams coming in here and winning hockey games. We played the way we had to play. Arnott picked off a controlled breakout, Sullivan made a really good play over to J.P. and then J.P showed his patience. That was a really big goal, and obviously the third goal was huge as it put them two goals down. Legwand just kept his legs moving and was able to get to the puck.
On keeping Florida to one goal…
Our penalty killing was pretty good and our defensive corps were pretty good. We didn’t give up a lot of chances. They never got any secondary chances.
On the play of Dan Ellis…
Dan Ellis looked really solid. He didn’t look rusty at all. I thought Ellis would be fine, because he prepared really well. There were times last year when he didn’t prepare the way I thought he should, and it started to show in his game. I was confident that he’d be fine. He’s got good practice habits, and he hasn’t let it slip. He’s matured from last year.
On generating offense against Florida…
They’re all about the attack, which is very similar to Colorado. They’re really dangerous – their defensemen are always up in the play, and they’ve got a really mobile defense. I didn’t think we got enough traffic today, and we didn’t get a lot of shots. We passed up some shots, we missed the net a lot. In the first period I thought that we could have had 20 shots. The good thing is that we didn’t get many blocked, which is important against a team that’s a pretty good transition team.
The power play has been good for us over this last stretch, so it’s good to win a game when tonight wasn’t their night. Some nights the penalty kill will be a big reason [for a win], like tonight, and five-on-five we got it done. You can’t expect the power play to score two goals every night.
On Jordin Tootoo’s play tonight…
Tootoo was good. He played with a lot of energy. Obviously he and McArdle had something going on. McArdle was talking to him the whole time. Finally, I think Tootoo had enough. It wasn’t much of a fight – [McArdle] went down pretty easily, so he said ‘Let’s go again.’ ... bad move.
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis
On having more energy during the third period…
Well, I think we played smart. We’ve played a lot of games lately so there was probably a little fatigue but we battled through it and made smart plays. It makes the game a lot easier for us.
On taking more shooting opportunities…
As the game developed we saw a lot of blue-line shots taken out there and our forwards made good plays and went to the net – which is the key. We were taking it to the net and making it tough on their goaltender.
On getting a win after last night’s streak-ending game…
Sometimes after a long winning streak, a loss can change a team a bit so it was a big game for us. We battled back and we didn’t want to lose two games at home. I’m really happy with our effort tonight.
Forward Jordin Tootoo
On his second fight against Kenndal McArdel…
I’m sure he had a target for me before the game started, and I thought that during the second period we needed some momentum and some emotion on the bench, so it was the right time and place for something like that to happen.
On his second fight…
Well, I was a little rusty at first. With the second fight he knew it was at the end of my shift and I thought it was a gutless move on his part. If something like that is going to happen, I think it should be full force, and whatever happened, happened. The bottom line is that we got two points and we’ve just got to get back with another win.
Goaltender Dan Ellis
On getting the start in tonight’s game…
If you have more of an attitude of gratitude, then it allows for you to focus for whenever you do get called upon you aren’t upset about not playing and you’re able to bring your best focus. You just have to go out there and practice your best and the little things are going to improve your game.
On Coach Trotz stressing a higher energy level for tonight’s game…
Absolutely, we all thought that we got away from our game and what has given us success over the past seven games and that was being a working team, moving our feet, and not taking undisciplined penalties. We’ve kind-of gotten away from that and allowed St. Louis to get a lot more chances and more shots than we’ve given up in a long time.